When I first discovered the Internet and envisioned its potential, it literally
boggled my mind. The speed with which our words and ideas can travel across
continents via e-mail and instant messaging reminded me of telepathic communication.
I saw the timelessness and non-local nature of the Internet as a symbol for
the universal mind through which we are all connected.
Do you know the origin of the word symbol? It is derived from the Greek word symbolon.
In ancient Greece it was a custom to break a slate of baked claya symboloninto several pieces to be distributed within a group. Every time the group gathered, the members fitted the pieces together in order to verify each others identity. (Transferred into todays world, we might call this your log-in information.) Similarly, when a messenger was sent from place to place, he carried a symbolon and when he arrived at his destination, he had to fit his piece of the broken plate into the other half to warrant that the message was exchanged between the right people.
In Symposium, Plato says human beings are symbolons that are seeking to reunite. His concept of love is when you find a missing piece of your broken plate.
Over two thousand years later, we are still searching for wholeness. We want to belong to communities where we are recognized for who we are. The big attractor of the new social media is the ease with which they allow us to connect with like-minded people.
If you want to build relationships online, ask yourself, what symbol am I carrying?
In a world of ubiquitous connectivity, it is easy to forget who we are. Connectedness starts when you are dialed in to your innernetyour emotions, your dreams, your goals and your purpose.
Love your iPod, but know when its time to take a walk without it and tune into your inner channels.
When creating your profile page or writing your blog, how are you presenting yourself and what signals are you sending? Communicate in a way that is personal and authentic. Make sure that your content is constructive and engaging, and that your message is relevant to the people who are getting it. (Spam is a good message that reaches the wrong person!)
In Seth Godins words, the best marketers today are not trying to appeal to everyone, they try to appeal to someone. Offer what you believe in and are passionate about, and dont worry if only a few people are interested, because on the web, you can find those people.
In Dialogues, Plato teaches that each one of us has to create our own life and live it. Even today, his motto remains engraved above the temple entrance at Delphi: Know Thyself.
Know who you are, be true to yourself and you will attract your matchon the web as in life.
DR. JOSEPHINE GROSS is Cofounder and Editor in Chief of Networking Times.