Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reveal a deeper you to your social network

By Shelagh Braley, COO

I have been swimming in the shallow end of the social networking pool this week, promoting My Life List as one of nine finalists in a business competition here in Boston, to let our “friends” know that we need their votes to win. It’s really important—increased profile and credibility, and desperately needed venture capital funding.

I’m posting. Give me a “like” if you read me.

It’s becoming so clear: Social media users have broadcast fatigue. We’re getting too many messages to respond to them all, so we choose the funny, the random and the superficial, put in just enough effort to create the illusion of engagement.

And we tell ourselves we are connected.

When you update your status to share clever revelations, a video for your favorite new song or a happy birthday wish on Facebook, you no doubt get responses from your average network of 300 who want to stay involved in your life.

But sharing a goal that requires real support and action from others is a very different process. When you post a goal on Facebook, the people who respond are generally your closest friends and supporters, the ones who would respond with the same intensity offline. Those who don’t want to engage in your goal ignore it and focus on the more surface comments of those in their network. Goals are too much information, too real, for some “friends.” You are also only connecting with your limited network, and working within the boundaries of their homogenized perspective. We “friend” those we’ve already known, though we hardly ever grow that way, or cultivate a different cast. We isolate ourselves by never sharing our obstacles and challenges, even though we know everyone faces them.

What I learned from asking for votes reinforces what makes the My Life List community so special. By participating on My Life List, you become part of a greater network that cares and responds, and most importantly, mobilizes. This network supports you based on your level of engagement within the MLL community. The more you share, the better they know you, the more they want help.

You are exposed to an ever-growing cohort of people who share your goals and have accomplished your goals—people who understand what it will take to accomplish your goals and who have experience, resources and information that will help you.

What’s even more unique, MLL's members are motivated not only to accomplish their own lists but to strive for new horizons and exchange ideas with others to widen that circle of support, achievement and inspiration. This communication also builds new goal-oriented relationships that add value to your achievement process and your life.

And to prove my point, if you want to vote for My Life List in the VenCorps Best of Boston Challenge:

1. Go to and register (top right-hand side of page).

2. Go to Pick Winners tab and select My Life List LLC.

3. Rate us (All 5s is the best score possible) and add a comment.

We appreciate every voice that makes our network stand out, in the business community and in this greater social media experiment. Thank you for being part of it.

Shelagh Braley, COO of, is an experienced entrepreneur and former journalist. She lives in Swampscott, Massachusetts.

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