Walkie-Talkie Christmas: An After Christmas Tale

Last week, while doing some last minute Christmas shopping, I was suddenly brought back to a shopping trip on the day after Christmas. I was seven or eight years old and had gotten that year’s big gift—a set of walkie-talkies. These were 4-transistor models.

The store we were in was a concrete building, and it was almost impossible to get a signal in there. Suddenly, above all the interference and clutter came an unfamiliar voice. A stranger had gotten a CB-Radio walkie-talkie, with much more power than the little 4-transistor radios I had. His voice was loud and clear. We had a short conversation as we tried to find each other in the store. For a kid with a new walkie-talkie stuck shopping with his parents, this was heaven!

My new friend came to find us. Imagine my surprise when the kid who showed up was more adult than kid! He was probably in his twenties. No matter. We had something in common. We had walkie-talkies, and were crazy enough about them to bring them shopping the day after Christmas. We wanted to talk… about our walkie-talkies.

It was a “walkie-talkie-up” (the early precursor to the tweet-up?).

The only thing we had in common was that we had each gotten that year’s “it” Christmas present. We chatted about the only thing we knew about each other: our radios. And after ooh-ing and ahh-ing over his super walkie-talkie, the conversation was pretty much done.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I had stumbled on to a very interesting trait of humans. We like to talk about things that we like. So if we like cars, we talk about cars. We find other people that like cars, too. And on it goes.

In some ways, Twitter is the Walkie-Talkie of our day.

Twitter is a constant stream of communication. You hear weak voices and loud voices. There is interference. And clutter. But if you monitor the stream, you can find those people that are talking about your interests. And unlike the old walkie-talkie, Twitter lets you filter out the noise and amplify the conversations that are of interest to you. And you don’t even have to worry about geographic proximity!

The possibilities are endless. In his book, Tribes, Seth Godin (read his blog here) talks about finding and leading your tribe. He points out the opportunity for using the Internet to gather your tribe and lead them. Pick up his book and take a refreshing look at your interests. Most likely, your tribe is ready to be led.

The amazing thing is, it almost doesn’t matter who your tribe is! If you are running a small business and your tribe consists of vendors who buy your parts or customers who use your end product, they are still a tribe waiting to hear a voice rise above the clutter. Inbound marketing uses quality content creation to “amplify” your signal and call your tribe to gather round for an interesting meet-up.

So next time you get your hands on a walkie-talkie, turn it on and listen to the noise a few seconds. And then think about your situation. How can you rise above the noise and lead those who share your common interests? Your Tribe is waiting for you.