Tools and Leadership and Power

Though I still need to write out more of my thoughts on the issue, I strongly believe more in influence than leadership. Interestingly enough, Chris Brogan is thinking about leadership today, and it reminds me of my preference for influence.

Questions for You:
Do you consider yourself a leader? If not, what kind of a follower are you?

I don’t consider myself a leader. Rather, I’m aiming to be an influencer. I don’t feel a need to take the lead and make people follow me anywhere. I prefer reading and thinking and quoting and whispering and asking questions. This isn’t leadership, this is influence. Because of this, I’m not a very good follower. I deeply appreciate all the wisdom and experience floating around out there, but not a piece of it get through unquestioned.

Which social media tools and applications do you us? HOW do you use them?

Yes. Take a look at my wink. If it’s missing a vowel, I have an account. Some of my friends would call me a dork and mock my prolific adoption of new tools, “What is it this week Thomas?”. But all of them are using at least one of those sites too. So we have a connection there. I think the web is stupid for the web’s sake. But there are great tools we can use to facilitate better personal connections.

If you were part of an engaged community, how would you use your systems to build something bigger than just you?

I’m really not that interesting or influential. I’m always standing around when the fire alarm goes off, but I didn’t pull it (and I certainly didn’t invent it). It takes a lot of people to make an impact on an ecology, but it only requires a small shift by a lot of people to cause significant change. I use tools to connect people with ideas. Preferably the best ideas with the people who can actually do something with them.

Is your blog / podcast / videoblog a platform for community? What would it take?

I don’t have a platform yet. I’ve been doing this blogging thing since 1999, but I’ve never been satisfied with my blog. It’s never what I want it to be. I have never been able to either sharpen it down specific enough to be effective, or spread it out enough to contain all my contexts. Lately I’ve enjoyed inserting synergy into other peoples platforms. That goes back to passing on ideas to the people who can actually use them.

I would love to develop my own platform, but I don’t yet know what that looks like. As I answer these questions, my mind keeps jumping back to Lessig’s announcement about his approach to the next 10 years, and his encouragement for the community of people that make creative commons possible. Movements are bigger than people, but it takes people to create a movement. Then my mind jumps to one of my favorite zefrank episodes called, The Surfer. Ok, ADHD moment complete.

If you were offered the chance to be part of an experiment to try moving the needle in LOTS of ways (similar to the Virtual Hot Wings project, and other social experiments), would you be up for the challenge?

I live for that kind of stuff. Especially when those experiments are focused on bring about justice, grace, peace, forgiveness, and love.

What kinds of rewards are important to an activated social community? What do YOU need to get out of an experience where you’re called upon to take small but meaningful actions?

The experience itself needs to be “enough” of a reward. I’m tired of financial and advertising based motivation. We don’t need more stuff. You’re not going to win two free iPhones. Someday, we’ll all be old with or with out everything we ever wanted, and the only thing that will matter are our relationships–the number of people who have forgiven us and accepted our forgiveness. If a community is truly social, then it gives to everyone involved more than it gets.

Is this making any sense?

You tell me.

[ questions via Tools and Leadership and Power ]

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