A linchpin is an indispensable metal clip that slots into the axel of a trailer to hold a wheel in place.

In Seth Godin‘s new book, Linchpin, he identifies that there are linchpins in every organisation who are the people that are indispensable to that organisation. They are not necessarily the people at the top, but they are people without whom things would not work quite right. They are never the people who turn up just to get the paycheck, but the people who are emotionally involved, who try new things, and don’t always abide by the rules because they know that sometimes those rules aren’t in the best interests of the organisation. Linchpins are people who are not afraid of raising their head above the parapet or being ridiculed for doing so.

Hugh McCleod, talking about Seth’s new book, summarizes it as follows: “In his best-known book, Purple Cow, Seth’s message was, “Everyone’s a marketer now.” In All Marketers Are Liars, his message was, “Everyone’s a storyteller now.” In Tribes, his message was, “Everyone’s a leader now.” And from Linchpin? “Everyone’s an artist now.” By Seth’s definition, an artist is not just some person who messes around with paint and brushes, an artist is somebody who does (and I LOVE this term) “emotional work.” Work that you put your heart and soul into. Work that matters.”

It strikes me that in the social media stratosphere there are also Linchpins. These are not just the people for whom the number of followers or their influence score are what matters. These are people who contribute greatly and make a real difference to the lives of others. In return they are getting real value out of their social networking, and I don’t mean just making money from it.

Seth summed it up back in April 2009 when he suggested that “the real relationships” people have online are what matter:

How many “real relationships” do you have online? How many linchpins are you really connected with? How many of them could you count on to help you out if you needed them? Are YOU a social media linchpin or a social media chameleon?

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To promote his new book Seth has activated a brand new feature on Meetup.com, called Meetup Everywhere which enables people to set a global meetup that individuals can then organise locally. The Seth meet-up called The Linchpins are everywhere (raise the flag) is taking place this Monday 14th June and yes there is one in Dublin in the Temple Bar Hotel. Find out more here and join some other Seth fans on Monday.