Being a connector has its risks

Posted by Shawn Callahan - July 25, 2008
Filed in Changing behaviour, Collaboration

New research has shown that we notice popular people and don’t notice unpopular people. OK, so we probably didn’t need research to tell us that but Cameron Anderson and Aiwa Shirako were investigating how reputations form and Dave Munger at Cognitive Daily describe the results this way:

It turns out that your reputation for cooperativeness is only affected by your behavior if you’re already popular. If you’re not popular, it appears that no one takes notice of your behavior, so it has no impact on your reputation. People with lots of social connections can build a good reputation — or a bad one — with much more ease than people with few social connections.

So for those people doing social network analyses spotting all the connectors you should also be providing these hubs with a warning: it’s true you are in a great place to build your reputation but also equally good place to tear it apart.

Cameron Anderson, Aiwa Shirako (2008). Are individuals’ reputations related to their history of behavior? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94 (2), 320-333 DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.94.2.320

About Shawn Callahan
Shawn is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

One Response to “Being a connector has its risks”

  1. Adam Steen Says:

    Shawn,
    If I’m understanding this post correctly, I agree with you 100%. One of the key elements in truly becoming a connector and putting yourself ‘out there’… is to be accesible to all people regardless of their status. Often times, it’s the less socially popular people that produce more measurable results.
    After all, why be a connector if you’re unwilling to connect with everyone? Provided it’s done with integrity of course.
    Adam