Trending Now

One person can change the world. Thank you, Internet

Maybe the revolution will not be televised but it will certainly be tweeted.  If you thought “it only takes one person to change the world” was bull, think again. While there may well be 3,015,231,472 Internet users worldwide and over 150,000,000 blogs, almost 300,000,000 active Twitter users, and 1,230,000,000 active Facebook users, most of them are lurkers.  And another word for lurker is “reader,” is “follower,” is “fan.” That said, in 2014 you have more access to the world while sitting on your couch in your sweats and bunny slippers than in any time in history.

You potentially have access to upwards of three-billion people.  Right now. Forget Uber or any of those “disruptive” Silicon Valley startups, the Internet is the ultimate disruptor. The Internet promises to make school obsolete and national borders irrelevant. The Internet should allow us to get to know Iraqis, Palestinians, Afghans, Russians and Iranians first hand so we can decide for ourselves whether we believe what our Government and our media tells us about Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, Russia, and Iran.

It’s an awesome power and too many people have forgotten the power that each and every person who has a reliable connection to the Internet has. And that’s good for you. Back in 2006, everyone was blogging. We’re in a transition. People are transitioning, en masse, from makers to consumers, from bloggers to readers, from YouTubers to commenters. From podcasters to people obsessed the No Agenda Show, Serial, and The Joe Rogan Experience.

Once, everyone in radio produced radio, now radio is passive; once, everyone in television produced TV, now TV is passive; once, everyone on the Internet produced content, now it’s turning. More people I know in 2014 identify with being a follower of one or more blogs, podcasts, Twitter profiles, or YouTube channels than they do with creating content themselves.  This is a perfect time to take over the world! To change the world! You (as in you, the man or woman who is reading this post right now) can do it. You, yes you, can change the world from the comfort of your wooly winter onesie.

Don’t be intimidated by the numbers. Don’t be cowed by the odds. Your sweet mom was right when she looked at you with love and pride in her dewy eyes and said “it only takes one person to change the world.”

And, unless you have a bona fide gimmick, changing the world will be a lifetime sentence. Are you an especially compelling twerker or a triple-threat song and dance man? Well, you might get to the Big Mic sooner than the rest of us; however, there are overnight sensations every day, so either don’t fret and work boldly towards your fame or choose the tortoise before the hare.

And, don’t let the fact that you’re in your sweats and bunny slippers and just staring at a glowing device on your lap make you believe that you’re not in possession of the most powerful and disruptive tool ever invented by anyone.

Don’t squander it.

Get clear on what you believe — I learned from Tate Linden that the biggest part of integrity is believing in something. Having a belief greater than yourself is your superpower. And, we all know that you can go pretty far motivated by money or fame but it’s passion that’ll drive you all the way to the finish line.  You don’t have to be 100% clear right now but don’t just choose something altruistic just because you think people will admire you. At some point you’ll be revealed as a liar or hypocrite. If you’re a hedonistic libertine who believes pleasure is the biggest motivator and greed is what’s really behind all the good works done by man, don’t profess to do it all for the kids. Finding what you believe in doesn’t have to be noble, it just has to be you. Find something that can drive you for the next 12 months and then let it evolve over the next 12 years.

Buy domain names — some people use lists or vision boards to sort out their future and who they want to be, I use keywords and domain names. Own yours (and don’t be stingy).

Get yourself a website — Don’t let this sandbag you. Right now, your blog is more important than your website. Your website only needs to be a simple, easy-to-navigate and up-to-date reflection of who you are and how you can be contacted. Don’t hide. People need to find you. Use something simple and elegant that’ll make you look professional and you can edit and update yourself. IM Creator and Squarespace are two very good places to start. You’ll have a lifetime relationship with your website and domain so this is all about getting up to speed.  Make your site easy enough so that even a journalist can find and contact you.

Get yourself a blog — Nothing fancy here, either.  Start with WordPress.com or Blogger and start writing. Be sure to create an “about me” and a “contact me” page and make it easy to not only find you but also to get a feel for you.  But a blog is much more than that. Your blog is where you’re going to work on developing your voice, figuring out what it is you really believe in, learning how to commit to the writing life in a big way (for free). This is where you’ll learn what you care about because it’s easy to be a devil’s advocate over time if you’re limited to 140 characters or you share the Wall with other people. However, if you want your blog to gain any steam, you need to not only start writing blog posts but you need to write them almost every day. Don’t worry, this is a long game. Just write one big piece a month. On the other days, you can give your opinion on the news of the day, do some analysis of what’s going on in the world — or even what’s going on in your world. Nothing’s too small and nothing’s too personal.  The true path to taking over the entire world is just being open and honest about your small little one. Oddly enough, the more personal and intimate you can become in front of everyone, the more universal your message will be to the people who most resonate with you. Remember, in a world with 3,015,231,472 Internet users, you really should be able to find thousands if not millions of people who resonate with your niche message, beliefs, lifestyle, and passion. Internet rule 34 states, “if it exists, there is porn of it” and I say, “if it exists, there’s a market for it.”  To quote Peter Thiel, “find a niche and dominate the hell out of it.”

Get yourself a Twitter account — If you want to change the world, don’t become a lurker and don’t just go down the Twitter rabbit hole. You need to become engaged, you need to be accessible. And, since the world moves fast and nobody really uses blog comments anymore, the rubber hits the road on social media. Twitter is essential. Not only is it a way to build a following and an ad hoc community, it’s a way of communicating officially and immediately and it’s also a convenient way of sharing links to the content you’re creating on other platforms, including your blog.

Create a Facebook Page — 1.23 billion people are on Facebook! Are you kidding me? You already have a profile, I am sure. Ideally, you would build yourself up via your profile but you’re probably interested in keeping Facebook a personal thing. In that case, create a page. Facebook’s constantly making it easier to manage your FB page as easily and seamlessly as you do your own personal profile.

Create a LinkedIn profile — You’re probably already on LinkedIn but do you update it as passionately and constantly as you would Twitter, Facebook, and your blog? No? For shame! LinkedIn now has long-form posts (here are mine).  You can write your very own Pulse article right now (do it!). Download LinkedIn’s secret weapon, their Connected app for iOS, and start working all of those connections you’ve added but have never strengthened. Download EasilyDo for your Android or iOS device and take a look at Refresh and Hello and start working these connections. For good or ill, people who take LinkedIn seriously are, generally speaking, the most influential and powerful people online.

Start writing for the biggest publisher you can (for free) — I have written for the Huffington Post and AdAge. Right now, I write for Biznology, Socialmedia.biz, the Social Media Monthly, Business2Community, and Social Media Today. I love to write on LinkedIn and on Medium. I aspire to write for Forbes and Fortune and any number of other sites willing to offer a writer like me a hope and a platform. And, I do all of this “for free.” I am not an actor so I don’t do cattle calls or community theater; however, in my world, keeping my voice and my writing fresh, relevant, loud, and read is my version of “getting out there.”

Become a YouTube Creator — I have squandered awesome opportunities to invest my time, talent, and energy on youTube. While I do have 922 videos, 3,452 subscribers, and 2,008,783 views, I am no longer any semblance of a YouTube “it” guy. If you’re not into writing, have a face for television, you can surely take over the world via YouTube, too.  Alternately, you can try Vine. Here’s the secret sauce with both YouTube and Vine: they’re families/tribes/communities first, video sharing sites second. Engage your community or you’ll never become anything anywhere. Ask Taylor Swift: her #1 job is social media engagement — singing’s her hobby.

Become a podcaster — before Serial, I might not recommend podcasting. It’s so hard to do well and it’s generally always longer form. You can pop on and off of YouTube in couple-minute increments and be fine, but podcasting’s more of a radio show format. If you have a voice for radio and have a lot to say (and a semblance of charm and humor to keep it going) then maybe this is a platform for you. If you can’t commit to either long form or doing some production, maybe Soundcloud is for you. Treat it a little bit like Facebook for your voice. Build connections, a listenership, and soon, before you know it, you might very well evolve into having a proper show. Soundcloud is an excellent set of audio training wheels.

Do presentations and webinars — do them live, do them for kids, do them for college students, become a guest lecturer, speak for clubs, do live webinars, do recorded videos, just do it. You can’t just say you’re an expert, you have to prove it by actually teaching and leading — helping — people get what they want and do what they do. So, never turn down an opportunity to get in front of people even if that opportunity ends up being a Google Hangout.  Doing webinars and recording your own instructional videos is perfect and asynchronous. You can do them any time you want. Teach people how to do what you do.

Share every presentation on Slideshare and YouTube — I always share every single presentation and deck I produce on both Slideshare and YouTube. Now that Slideshare is part of LinkedIn, anything I put up on Slideshare gets hundreds of views in hours. With a one-two Slideshare-YouTube combination, you can really expand your recognition. Be sure to share all of these uploads to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ as well.

Become a known topic expert — In 2014 if you think you need a degree to be an expert, you’re a fool. All you need is a track record, references, testimonials, case studies, and expertise.

Give reddit a serious college try — reddit’s no joke. Top redditors may well hold more power in the world than top YouTubers and bloggers.

Learn how to properly edit a Wikipedia page — Wikipedia’s not just your graduate dissertation. Knowing how to write objectively with citations and references is a first start, but Wikipedia is also a meritocracy, it’s a democracy, it’s a community, and it demands commitment, openness, transparency, and some knowledge of the wiki markup. If you’re and academic, a lawyer or coder, you’ll get Wikipedia; otherwise, take it slowly and read everything about protocol and process.

Learn some HTML, CSS, and enough of a scripting language to get yourself into trouble — Hey, you’ve already sorted out Wikipedia’s markup, spend a little time understanding what’s going on when you right click on a webpage and choose “view page source.”

Write a book — It’s so easier said than done. I haven’t yet. But, if you’re going to, find an agent and publisher. This isn’t about making money. Well, it shouldn’t be. Writing a book is about producing the most important business card in the entire world. And, as you pursue the big book deal, write as many smaller, self-published, books as you can. Books and Ebooks are just another way of sharing your passion, sharing who you are, and connecting with other people. The entire world doesn’t live in the future like you do — give the luddites their books!

Get in the papers, on TV and the radio — At this point, it’s possible.  If you explore HARO, you’ll see how desperate reporters, producers, and journalists are to find experts and commentary. Once you build yourself up some, go out there and follow HARO and reach out to as many local and national news outlets as you can (and ping your network to see if anyone knows anyone because this sort of thing generally happens through friends of friends before they hit their rolodex).

Get thee a Wikipedia page — but don’t write it yourself. That’s just not OK, for whatever reason.

Many hands make light work —  you can’t be a messianic cult leader in a vacuum and you can’t be a great American novelist if nobody’s read you. As you develop your cult of personality, start tapping those people around you. Ask them for favors and for help. Not only will you get help but you will strengthen your ties with the people in your community.  What you’re doing demands at least a posse so start empowering other people as soon as possible. You, sherriff, have the authority to deputize — do it!

Your name is your reputation — make it as easy as possible to not only find you but to really get to know you before ever actually meeting you in person, email, or on the phone.

Your word is your legacy — people won’t judge you based on the quality of just one particular turn of phrase. Your initial posts will suck in comparison to your work a decade later and your early YouTubes will make you want to retch. We all feel that way. Your legacy is your sharing, your legacy is your word. Your legacy is what you have done and said and written and not what’s in your heart or locked deep inside your head.  It’s not what you believe, it’s how people perceive you through your actions and your words. Be sure to keep what you truly believe and what people believe you believe as in sync as humanly possible.

I hope this is useful. Good luck and go git ’em, Tiger. Please be sure to ask me anything in the comments. This is a living document and I would love to expand on these ideas and this advice.

Feel free to own the yacht but hire a crew if you’re not yet seaworthy. If you get my drift and want to adopt the yachting lifestyle yourself but either don’t have the mad sailing skills yourself, don’t yet posses a world-class crew, and don’t know yet where to go, then you should give me a call or reach out me by email — so I can help you pilot your vessel now, in the tranquil blue-green shallows of the Caribbean, as well as in the roughest seas and into — as well as out of — the storm.

If you’d like to chat more, call me at +1 (202) 869-3210 Ext 0001  email me, or feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me.

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discussion

  1. Avatar David

    Hi Chris — three years later I’m replying to your post to say thanks for writing it. When I started college I really strongly believed that with that education I would change the world. I lived in Canada for 13 years, and decided to come back to Africa to change how plotical systems work here. I got sidetracked along the way. But after reading your post I’m convinced I must just jump into it. You see, Chris, like you, I always believed the Internet as a powerful tool for change. Unfortunately, unlike you, I haven’t acted on this belief. Two days ago I sat with a new acquaintance in a pub in Johannesburg, South Africa, and talked aboit the insane problems Africa is facing now. We paused for a moment. Then he said, “So what now? What shall we do?” And I said to him, “The Internet!” I went on to mention YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Then I mentioned The Youth since they are the ones who are jobless because of irresponsible policial decisions, they are the ones whose future is compromised by the current political system. So thanks for this motivation!

    1. Avatar Chris Abraham

      Bravo, David! You’ve made my decade on this! Let me know how I can help you and your ZA youth movent, please let me know!

Back to top