You don’t need a gigantic network to create, experiment and succeed

I was excited today to make a small donation to The Bucket Brigade, a project that might actually end up a book; presuming Bud Caddell’s attempt at crowdfunding its publication raises enough money.

According to Bud’s Kickstarter pledge page, if he manages to solicit $5000 from his social media friends and followers, he’ll have enough cash to take time off to write and pay an editor to help him complete what he promises will be directions for how to profit in the “attention economy.”

It’s my guess that Bud will raise his money in no time. And I hope this post helps in some small way. Bud’s experiment – in his words he’s “trying to prove that there’s more value in our networks than we can even fathom” – is the epitome of what new social media platforms like Kickstarter and Kachingle or old ones like Twitter and Facebook allow us to do.

We live in an age when anyone can publish, broadcast, design a product or start a movement. The only thing stopping us is fear, inertia or lack of a network. If Bud raises his $5000.00 – in $25 and $100 increments – it will be one more reminder of how much power has shifted to the individual.

Bud has 5000 followers on Twitter. That’s a pretty good number, though a far cry from a Chris Brogan. He has a blog that gets between 4,000 and 12,000 visits a month. That’s influence, but it’s not Seth Godin. I point that out as a reminder that you don’t have to be Brogan, or Godin or Gary Vaynerchuk to make things happen.

Sheena Matheiken’s The Uniform Project raised over $100,000 to send kids in India to school. Its Facebook fan page has 7,400 “likes,” while it’s Twitter followers number just over 5,900.

Erik Proulx, with his blog and his supporters on Twitter, was able to produce Lemonade the movie and get started on Lemonade Detroit. Erik has a similar number of followers and blog readers to Bud.

When you get started in social media – one person among millions, with nothing more than a Twitter account and no clear set of instructions – it seems unlikely that you can actually accomplish all that much. But you can. If you follow the examples of Bud, Sheena and Erik – engage, give, share, create, experiment – you’ll be surprised at what you can do.

Got other really good examples of what individuals have done by gathering a community, building a network and trying something ambitious?  Please share here. And as always,thanks for reading.