I am not a natural-born networker. I prefer "hanging" with those people I know well. I have a schedule that doesn't allow me to meet people after work. Those are great excuses for not networking, right? Actually, this is my situation. Yet, I still find time and ways to carve meeting new people into my life. Some stay around for awhile, others, well, not so much.
It was just over a year ago I started blogging. Then I started Tweeting. I have made some solid friends this past year.
I remember making my first on-line friend, Barry Hopson. Who, by the way just published a book he co-authored with Katie Ledger. (Visit the blog and read the get the book). Sounds kind of hokie, I know. But it was sort of an "Aha" moment…you really can meet people virtually.
I also began reading and commenting on blogs and met Miriam Salpeter of Keppie Careers. I considered her a mentor, whether she knew this or not. Now I have been asked to be part of her joint effort with Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter and others, Career Collective. This has provided me the opportunity to "meet" other great thinkers and bloggers!
Entering into the world of Twitter, my earliest friend was helpful and local so we met for coffee, Karl Heinz Kramer (@khkremer). I continue to meet new people everyday on Twitter. As Deborah Mourey says, "Twitter is a cocktail party". I don't even like going to cocktail parties, but heck, you meet some interesting people. That is why taking a leap into Twitter can be so interesting, especially for those who are introverted. Since starting on Twitter, I have made so many connections with so many great people. It has also been helpful in keeping in touch with real friends I don't get to see too often.
Using social media has been a wonderful adventure. I am amazed by how easy and almost natural it is to meet new people.
Perhaps Twitter's new List function will make it easier for newbies to follow and engage in new "tweindships". Susan Ireland recently wrote a post "14 Twitter Lists for Job Search" about Lists and I found it basic and helpful.
The key is to find people who share common interest. For me it is anything related to job search and social media.
What are your professional interests and who are you going to follow?