Miles Jennings

personal site & blog

An overly professional bio website for Miles Jennings

All Anyone Cares About Is Your Network

The old model of distribution consolidated power in the hands of media companies. Newspapers, movies, books, and television were (really broadly speaking) the only way to reach an audience.

Social media changed all that, kind of.

In the modern method, the media companies still have consolidated distributive power. However, the source of that power is less about their organic authority and more about combining networks of contributors into nodes of influence.

For example, we have contributor-supported content models, such as Forbes Contributed content. We have Yelp, supported by contributed reviews, versus the old model of professionally written reviews.

End result: powerful companies are still very powerful, as they are the best at synergistically bringing networks of influence together.

Without working with established brands, distribution to an unlimited audience is theoretically possible, but not usually probable. You can even make the argument that decentralization of distribution made brands more powerful, as our attention is fractured and pulled in many directions.

This is old news, really.

My thought today though is how this changes the power dynamic when negotiating with brands that used to represent distributive power itself. If you are looking for a book deal from a publishing house, for example, the first thing the publisher will ask is “Who can you promote this to?” 

You’re thinking, “I thought that was your job.”

If you work with a crowdfunding site to raise money, they will tell you, “We’ll give you the tools you need to promote this deal to your network.”

You’re thinking, “I thought that was your job.”

End result: companies that used to promise you an audience or customers now ask you for the same.

Takeaway: Develop your network and audience, no matter what industry you’re in. An audience is now a prerequisite for working with larger companies; the mobility or portability of your network is the largest determining factor in your value. Oprah can bring her audience anywhere; can you?


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