I’ve been on Twitter since mid 2007, gradually engaging with more people, following conference streams and earlier this year, joining chats like #imcchat, #kaizenblog and #nmchat. It’s in the chats where I’ve started forming some pretty cool friendships – I’d call them friendships even though we’ve not met in real life. And experiencing much of what Shel Israel writes in Twitterville about the new global neighborhoods. Then #UsGuys happens and added an incredibly rich dimension I never expected.

It all started with a really bad logo redesign. I know there are many bad logos out there and most don’t warrant an uproar, but this was the Gap. A company that should know better. I think @tommoradpour and I connected on a Twitter Chat. Then he introduced me to @Galactic during our conversation around #gapgate as we shared links and dismay that such a respected brand could do this to themselves. Then @mikulaja and @RealChaseAdams joined in and most of our allotted 140 characters were consumed by including everyone. So #UsGuys was formed to solve the problem.

@NickKellet joined in and pretty soon we have people asking what’s with #UsGuys? You mean you have your own hashtag? I think it was @MargieClayman who asked that. Almost like a butterfly that flaps it’s wings and half a world away triggers an avalanche, #UsGuys became this inclusive 24/7 community talking social media, marketing, branding, and yes, really bad logos.

@RealChaseAdams really picked up the torch serving as chief host while the rest of us jumped in and out as time permitted. Read his great post on what #UsGuys is here.  I believe well over 100 520 people have stopped by. Some kick the tires while others stay for a long cup a joe, then come back for happy hour. @solete in Spain somehow never needs to sleep as she’s always adding value and humor to the conversation. And one evening I had a great conversation about business with @qstreet in Philadelphia – something that never would have happened outside of a tribe like this. Then @danenow in Palm Springs posted a photo of his workspace and asked others to do the same. And so it goes.

#UsGuys may not be global, but we span the U.S., Canada, Spain and the UK (maybe others I’m not aware of). I hadn’t written about this before because Chase Adams did such a great job with the intro I hadn’t saw the need. But now over a month in, I feel compelled to talk about how cool, warm, welcoming, refreshing (insert gushing adjective here) the #UsGuys community has become. I’ve had great exchanges with many and know that we could easily pick it up in real life.

The coolest thing about #UsGuys is that we came together over common interests and are forming connections that would have been virtually impossible without a platform like Twitter. We’re experiencing the Flat World that Tom Friedman wrote about a few years ago. While easy to take for granted, it’s almost magical. To those not overly active on Twitter, when I explain this cool community that just spontaneously happened over a bad logo – thank you Gap, there’s a blank look. You really just have to experience it.

Bottom line: #UsGuys has shown me there are some super cool people with substance out there doing great work who exude warmth and inclusiveness. They’re fun, unpretentious, interesting. People who don’t try too hard to be something they’re not. Nick summed it up best:

“Membership of the tribe has given me a true sense of belonging. #usguys has become my extended team, my source of inspiration, my sounding board. It’s a safe, friendly playground.”

Tom has kicked off a great blog out of the group and I can only think that we’re just beginning to see the potential of the #UsGuys community. Sure some people will come and go. There will be ebbs and flows. Some will not find value at times the convo gets too trivial. The key is to spend some time in the stream. Stop by at different times of day: join in when it suits you – 24/7.

Key takeaways for business?

  • Community happens, sometimes spontaneously. Nurture it. Don’t force it. Or fake it.
  • Go where the action is. If it’s on Twitter, great. Or Facebook. Or your local park bench. Don’t try to force people onto a platform.
  • You get out of it what you put into it. You have to invest the time. Stop by regularly and connect. Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor are relationships. Trust takes time.
  • Be respectful, responsive and inclusive and you’ll reap far greater rewards.
  • Be willing to let go. When you start a community, you don’t always know where it’ll lead. Enjoy the journey.
  • Make it simple. Don’t over think it. It’ll develop a richer personality without every move being scripted.
  • And when it starts gaining momentum, let it ride for a bit to allow it time to achieve flow and rhythm.

No telling where #UsGuys is going, but it’s one tribe I’m thrilled to be a part of.

Comments

  1. Chase Adams says:

    Patrick, Great write up man! It’s been awesome to grow a community alongside such amazing people.

    When did you write this? As of today, we’ve had over 520 contributors JUST this week!

    I’m so glad we’ve created an environment for people to join us in conversation that’s not intimidating, that allows for engagement (My favorite word, ever) and is just an all around good time.

    Can’t wait to see what direction our community moves and am so overwhelmed with the fact that we’re so ambiguous and fluid that it could go anywhere.

  2. Morgan says:

    Great thoughts Patrick,

    I just recently discovered #usguys from a random interaction with Tom around one of my posts. I’m glad to have found it, always great to find likeminded folks who are engaged and open to new ideas and new connections/friendships.

    I look forward to seeing where it goes too.

    Morgan

  3. Patrick says:

    Thanks Chase; wrote it Wednesday evening and took an ultra-conservative stab at the numbers. Will update! Appreciate your efforts.

  4. Patrick says:

    Morgan – welcome to the #usguys stream. We’re glad to have you and look forward to learning more about you and hearing your ideas!

  5. Sandra Parrotto says:

    Read this yesterday and had to get back to share with you how excited I am to have met you through #usguys. No question that without twitter and this group, we would’ve never had that great conversation a while back. Goes beyond that, even in real life, we might not have had “that” conversation. Real life requires us to have a purpose, a point to our time spent and usually that means some kind of focused agenda. I got to know you, Patrick, when nothing really mattered but hanging out. And it was sooooo FREEING! I was so surprised when you mentioned it in your post – it was meaningful to me, as well. You said it well in Point #1,
    “Community happens, sometimes spontaneously. Nurture it. Don’t force it. Or fake it.” –
    I see that you follow your own advice – lucky me!

  6. Truer words have never been spoken, Patrick. Over the past week or two several people have blogged about #usguys (myself included) and while our micro-definitions are all different (great thing about #usguys) our overall take away from our connections and experiences is unified (best thing about #usguys).

    It’s always fun to see the names of your compatriots in print, just another example of #usguys reaching out and enriching our “tribal” experience.

    Sometimes I feel the part of the proverbial child that it takes an entire village to raise, I feel strongly that I couldn’t be in better hands.

  7. Patrick says:

    Sandra – meant to reply last week. Love your perspective and glad that we’ve connected on #UsGuys. Power in the community!

  8. Patrick says:

    Thanks Ryan – means a lot! I think the power of the online social world is to bring people with disparate backgrounds together by finding common ground, shared interests. And believe that can then translate into real life. Looking forward to more conversation in the stream!

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed.