#100Connections: Rise of the Side-Project

How an idea and a bit of luck seems to be starting something potentially amazing.

Small Beginnings

People leave me amazed and inspired. On Monday, I decided to try a side-project that attempted to create more engagement with my next 100 Twitter followers. It started ok as I posted on Medium and LinkedIn, with a couple of followers added and at least one really great conversation started. Having only amassed just over 500 followers in my years on Twitter to date, I expected a trickle and it looked like I’d have just that. It was just a bit of fun, a little idea to play with.

Then, prompted by Medium sharing the post via their Twitter account (thank you!) momentum started gathering. Within minutes I’d amassed well over the 100 followers I needed for the project and was hit by a wave on enthusiasm, constructive comment, sharing and interest. I was pretty taken aback and I now had a responsibility to deal with it all!

I sat until 2am, working from 3 versions of Twitter to ascertain who the first 100 followers were and reach out to them with an introductory tweet asking

‘how can I support you?’

I tried to thank the re-tweeters, respond to questions and watched as my #100Connections (a hashtag I coined at that point too) started to respond.

It’s strange to think that was only 72 hours ago.

There’s an awful lot to get my head around. At this point, I’m not going to attempt to even start the analysis – I need to take some time to develop conversations with the #100Connections and it’s taking me some time to get on top of it all. In all honesty, I wasn’t prepared for anything so rapid, engaged and positive as this to happen from a little sideshow to my main event, The Work Project.

Already, I’ve met some amazing people, doing incredible things, each unique. Some amazing conversations are developing – others will follow. It’s a massive learning curve.

As I understand it, I need to work out how to develop the idea to make the project useful for us all. The great thing is that between the 101 of us, there’s such diverse potential and opportunity. I think we can really do something.

Making it a Thing

One of the first tweets I received was from Justin (@justinflitter),

@AndySwann Love your project. Let’s make it a thing.

If the #100Connections idea evolves to have a purpose, then I think we should do just that. But what will that purpose be?

  • Will we help each other out and start an altruistic movement?
  • Could we collaborate on a project and actually create something together?
  • Can we structure this idea to justify making it a thing and encouraging others to do this too?
  • Do the #100Connections want any of this, or is the intrigue, conversation and initial question enough?

I’ll only be able to answer that as the (side)project develops. It feels like we’re onto something amazing here, with the potential to do something unique, and hopefully, useful, but it’s up to the #100Connections collectively to decide if that’s the case. The next few weeks will be telling.

The first task is to take stock and make sure I’m honouring my question of ‘how can I support you?’ in a responsive way. As it stands, I’m taking far too long to follow up on, well, everything!

The 100+

The hardest part of this mini-adventure so far has been disappointing the followers who showed a real enthusiasm for the idea, but weren’t in the first 100. Some have reached out and as I connect in some small way with each individual, it’s disappointing that I couldn’t include everyone. But 100 meaningful connections is a fair amount to take on at once and the line, unfortunately, has to be drawn.

I’d like to harness the enthusiasm of those who weren’t in the first 100 to take this idea forward and encourage them to take on #100Connections themselves, once I can fully shape the idea.

A Plan Without a Plan

One of the great things is that there are no rules in #100Connections, it’s a question of starting a conversation, offering support and seeing how this develops. Some of the conversations are already moving away from Twitter – I’ve shared emails, planned Skype calls and received a phone call from one of my connections (Andrew, sorry – I still owe you a call back). But, not everyone would be as open to, or comfortable with, all of this as me, so we may have to suggest some parameters if the idea is to spread. Perhaps individual preference will naturally decide who will be the instigators and who will be the connections.

I love the idea of a genuine offer. One of my #100Connections has already remarked that it’s hard to believe the offer of support from a stranger is genuine without thinking ‘where’s the catch?’, but that’s partly the reason for doing this! The amazing thing is that, beyond any modern world suspicion, many of my new connections have added a condition to the unconditional offer – I’ll let you support me, but only if you let me support you. I’ve found this genuinely moving.

72 hours after I launched this idea, I’m looking at websites, connecting people, reading everything from amazing ideas to great blogs and fiction, watching amazing films, seeing amazing artwork and enjoying the diversity of support a group of 100 people I previously had no connection with actually needs. Equally, I have new people to collaborate with (that I know will create amazing opportunities), constructive advice on my own websites, services and The Work Project itself, offers of coaching, support and much more. It’s a great feeling to think that there’s a group of random people across the world who have never met each other, yet somehow we’ve got each others’ backs.

I can’t wait to see how this develops.

Here’s the complete list of my #100Connections. Follow them, they’re amazing people…

@teabags18, @justinflitter, @ingridium, @izzaboo, @wtjern , @micabilbao, @cjmula, @kirintando, @lynaecook, @dinobalen, @mrboudreaux, @dinobalen, @nphaskins, @lcsimonsen,@amacdowell, @sisuzan, @abdnormal, @mhj, @ekimnazimkaya, @alexobenauer, @ericthegeek, @agingerlegend, @mbuckbee, @strickvl, @troybhaas, @seggitorial, @fortunatedad, @__radical__, @cris_bettis, @heathercimmy, @redrawnoxen, @sancho108, @followvm, @jeremyblachman, @jaspercolt, @tomch, @kevinsidwar, @mattgame, @olilewington, @mrfookes, @jaredwillis, @ckgill, @hrfmichael, @lisaztweets, @sdnyco, @andreasmoser007, @sieurdulhut, @socialkimly, @natetronn, @houstonconsult, @moshjosh, @dieselfiber, @nickyguttridge, @scholarsfame, @doge_ranger, @jimmargo, @bcleveland7, @ryanmorse33, @b_suraj, @ducolentz, @emolabs, @aliviaduran, @rorymasterson, @clogish, @stepheneppling, @tylersimko, @chazhutton, @chelsinheimer , @marcomwright, @nancyguthrie5, @jandreeberry, @chrisdc2, @spectre_7, @greenscreencine, @imcalebt, @jordanscottco, @coltural, @haychling, @cristinagetson, @nicbrain, @jcking_ca, @gomollon, @hoxican, @ericrius1, @christinagiles,@beangilsdorf, @april_c_hearne, @nmorton, @bradensthompson, @loftographyatx, @mouthflowers, @edifiedlistener, @lindsayjillroth, @itsluke, @designedbysin, @mrwthr, @erikinnovates, @smalleran, @leif_larsen

[I will try and get round to making the usenames hyperlinks at some point!]

You can see more using #100Connections on Twitter. Please share your thoughts and ideas!

By Andy Swann on September 25, 2014.
Exported from Medium on July 15, 2016.