Practically every day you hear or read something about the importance of social networking (SN). Since many opportunities for the GU come via connections and who you know, effective use of SN is essential. And supposedly online is now the way to go.
But the proliferation of outlets, each with different (and often, to me, confusing) features…which keep changing, makes it a challenge to learn about and do it. Follow me here, message me there…you could spend hours each day just maintaining your profiles and statuses, updating contacts and commenting on comments. Reconnecting and keeping touch with friends via sites like Facebook has been great, but so far I haven’t made any new industry connections or booked any jobs. Maybe I don’t spend enough time, as Tim Gunn would say, making it work.
I’ve checked out Twitter, but haven’t yet seen the light about why it’s so popular. So I’m glad that a religous satire show I do some writing and miscellaneous projects for (and wrote a Tweet or two for) with over 3,500 followers and counting has asked me to take charge of responding to its Twitter commenters. I met with the director to discuss how this might work and took several pages of notes about direct messages, retweets, etc. Whew. Next I have to figure out the various apps for monitoring/tracking…and determine how much time this will take.
I’ve seen greater benefit through traditional, in person networking. The woman I sit next to in choir knows someone I used to work with who now has his own business needing freelance writers. Thanks to him, I’m meeting with a potential client next week. Ages ago a writer friend referred me to a consulting company where her brother works that uses actors for role playing/simulation. I recently booked a week (to portray a major corporation executive) with another penciled in, plus my contact offered to recommend me for freelance writing/editing opportunites in other departments. I’ve booked several VO jobs thanks to friends’ referrals. I connected an author friend who wanted to make a rap video for her book Perfect Chemistry (it’s gotten more than 34,000 hits) with a director I’d met on a short film, Stealing Kisses …a part I got in part because a friend cast in one of the main roles recommended me. She just did her second rap video with him.
How have you made online social networking work for you?