Wednesday, June 2, 2010

ATP Revisited

Last month I conducted a radio interview about a networking modus operandi I value, ATP (Authenticity Touch Points). As a result, I was reminded of my 2009
ATP post, specifically as it related to navigating LinkedIn. It is time for a six month ATP review.

Read On:
For starters, LinkedIn has grown by 15 million people and now is a worldwide business oriented community of 65 million registered users and still growing. Personally, I have made numerous new connections, some of which are not even in my immediate sphere of business. Regularly I only engage with a hand full of people. I even engage with an individual on the other side of the globe in Australia. Notice I use the word engage, versus saying that I am connected. That is the spine of why I wanted to revisit my concept of ATP.

I have lost track of my time vested in LinkedIn in the last six months, but this much I have concluded. There are two buckets into which networkers fall: Situational and Sustainable.

Situational networkers are driven by the “what’s in it for me” networking philosophy. They are looking for connections to either expand their personal or company’s network. Situational networkers have bought new definition to the word ephemeral. A typical example: I post a comment to an individual’s discussion in a group, they respond with a thank you, plus an immediate invitation to connect on LinkedIn without even knowing what business I am in. Once we are connected, I invariably receive one of their huckster solicitations. Oh by the way, I am amazed by how many of the situational networkers are coaching gurus with 500+ connections expounding “How to Build Your Business”.

The second bucket, about 10% of the people I have met via LinkedIn are sustainable networkers. People that value people relationships long-term, thus expend the energy to nurture these relationships on a continual basis. Nurturing takes engagement. That is where ATP (Authenticity Touch Points) comes into play. The initial step is to ask questions – classic phone calls or emails are a great way to learn about each other’s businesses, background, etc. Information exchange via articles/links is another element of ATP. Thanks to travel, I even have had the opportunity to physically engage live with LinkedIn connections over drinks or coffee, but unfortunately, Australia is not in my immediate travel plans.

I value being a sustainable networker. Thanks to experimentation, I have honed my ATP skills, which now serve as an excellent filtering tool as I selectively connect and then engage with new people in the LinkedIn community.

ATP Revisited is the first installment of my three blog June Alphabet Series. My next post is titled LGBT.


  1. Jimmy,

    Great observations about the behavior of people. It seems that there is a learning curve that is taking place regarding the use of social media. Boorish behavior is soon discovered and those people quickly discounted. While this decreases the number of "links" the ones that remain are more valuable.

    Early on, and perhaps even today, some recruiters measure a person's influence by the number of links he/she had on Linkedin. Your post reinforces why such a metric is meaningless.


  2. Some interesting observations, Jimmy. I'm always surprised when people complain about the lack of benefits in using socializing outlets, whether online or in the real world. As with everything else in life, the value you get from such engagements is dependent on the value of the efforts you make to interact with others.

    If you can't be bothered to invest time in others, it's absurd to expect them to see any value in investing their time in you.

  3. Great post Jim... Connecting isn't a black or white type of thing. it's truly meant to be a complex compound with many different elements and textures. I'm only a student and I hope to learn how to be a good sustainable connection for the long term...

  4. Jim,
    Great post! I especially like your statement, 'nurturing takes engagement.' You know that I absolutely believe in this and find it crucial while building up a true network of connections. You bring up some key points that I wish all networkers knew and did not just spam you for their own benefit.

  5. Jimmy,

    I also enjoyed this post. Interesting, I'm familiar with the different type of networkers, but I haven't heard of the term ATP before. I attend a lot of in-person networking events and often refer to the situational networkers as "sharks." They're the person who shows up to the table, drops 10 business cards, says a few words, and then leaves onto the next. Not only is this inefficient, but at the end of the evening, they don't stick in my memory for a good reason.

    If I had to guess, these sharks in person probably use similar tactics online. The trick for me is in reading people and being able to differentiate the sustainable networkers (because I enjoy engaging with them more). I know I'm one of them. Some of the ways I engage is share articles via Twitter/Facebook/E-mail/Google reader. I know I can be better at this, though. (As my sustainable contacts grows, I need to learn how to stay on top of things like I'd like with the same efficiency).

    Anyway, thank you for sharing! :)

  6. I enjoyed this post Jim. I am asked regularly "To friend...or not to friend." Well, as you say, it really depends.