I’ve been pondering the interactions on Twitter and other social sites. Often it seems that people are overlooking simple forms of etiquette or what you could call the ‘Art of Woo’. Defined in their book titled the same, by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa say that the art of Woo is ‘relationship-based persuasion, a strategic process for getting people’s attention, pitching your ideas, and obtaining approval for your plans and projects.’ ‘
Looks to me as though President Obama has perfected the art of Woo to the nth degree. And the book feels like a kind of philosophical Edward Tufte treatise, without all the graphics.
While a young Napoleon didn’t bother to ask or order his men to man a strategic artillery battery at the siege of Toulon, he did enlist a marketing tool. He fashioned a big placard reading: ‘The Battery of the Men without Fear’. Positioned near the battery, it was ‘manned day and night’. The men competed for the honor of joining up with an unknown but savvy persuader of the era, Napoleon Bonaparte.
The book outlines 4 simple steps; Survey your situation, Confront the 5 barriers, Make your pitch and Secure your commitments.
The five barriers are negative relationships, poor credibility, communication mismatches, hostile belief systems and conflicting interests. So your goal is to clear away the brush to reach your objective, whatever it is.
What I find fascinating is the way that some Twitterers and people on other social sites neglect the first two steps of the process and jump right into the 3rd. Make your pitch! Why should I follow someone who’s constantly promoting their stuff or ideas, when I have no clue to who they are. They haven’t bothered to tell me and they seemingly, don’t care.
I appreciate Ari Herzog, a Boston blogger who usually does the opposite; he asks people to identify themselves, he doesn’t launch his own agenda and he has thoughtful opinions.
One could argue that this online networking has its own set of rules, and one is that you don’t need to know anyone before jumping into a relationship or pitching an idea. The agenda of the sites is to develop new friends and to explore different networks. I’ll be interested in seeing how many successes spring from that strategy.
In my own experience, working with local farmers or any other part of a community, face time is essential to build credibility and trust. Despite the wonderful long letters between, say the poets, Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, they still managed to get together over the years to talk.
As for the winter light part of this posting, there’s nothing like snow and late afternoon light to inspire a painter. I’ve been working on a series -again the backyard – but hey, I’m trying to save money by not driving. The challenge of painting highlights in snow.
You can find these in my shop on Etsy.