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WTF is Social Networking? (Part 2)

August 25, 2010

In the previous article we covered what Social Networking is, let’s look at what it ain’t.

What social networking isn’t:

  • It’s not broadcasting:  it’s not a personal radio/TV channel, tuned to one station: You, You, and after this short break more YOU!
  • It’s not a popularity contest: The number of ‘friends’ on your Facebook page doesn’t determine your worth as a human being or your quality as an artist.
  • It’s not a substitute for reality: it should be a part of your life/career – not all of it!  You still need a real life support network.
  • It’s not your full-time job, don’t lose sight of your real goals.

Death of the Salesman:

An ever-increasing amount of social and business relationships are being created, developed and maintained via social networking websites.  These sites give you access to otherwise unreachable ‘experts’ in your industry and provide a platform for you to engage in dialogue with your colleagues and fans. It’s also a great way to be able to keep in touch with colleagues and friends.  All brilliant reasons to be an active, savvy social networker – but if you’re like me, the idea of trying to hard-sell my product (or anything really) sends chills down my spine and leaves my tum somewhat sickened. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be able to rival Billy Mays, in fact your social networking efforts should be almost entirely a sales-free zone.

The term ‘Networking’ gets a bad name thanks to those who don’t do it well, it has many negative connotations. Networkers are needy, smarmy, succubus-like characters reminiscent of used-car salesmen, with a single-minded objective like hungry plankton – “me, me, me, want, want, want.”  I’m sure you’ll agree, anyone trying to get my attention (let alone my advice, help or respect) using these tactics is going to be disappointed. If even the idea of networking makes you feel dirty, it’s time to change your association with the word and reinvent what it means to you.

The Social Networking ‘Secret’:

‘A good deed never goes unnoticed’, ‘What goes around, comes around’, ‘be wary the karma police’, or simply ‘’it’s nice to be nice’ (credit to my Mom for that one). Can you guess how these sayings relate to successful social networking and which half of social networking is often ignored?  When you give, with sincerity and authenticity and without expectation of return, you get back. Don’t ignore the ‘give’ bit and you won’t be just another plankton (aka: annoying salesman)!

Don’t Reach Out Only When You’re In Need.

Asking someone to spend their valuable time checking out your resume, head-shots or reel IS asking them a favor. You’re not looking for one-time favors from strangers – that’s short-sighted. Instead you should always aim to develop real, long-term and mutually beneficial relationships. You need to be actively engaged in your community regularly and consistently. I like to think of it as earning Karma points when i do nice things for others, and when I’ve accumulated enough, I can ‘spend’ these points by asking for help in return.

To fully embrace the potential of your online presence, remember that the same real-world rules of developing authentic, valuable and engaging relationships still apply online.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the do’s and don’ts of Social Networking for Actors and why ‘the C-Word’ is an essential part.

Until then – keep sharing!

“Three keys to more abundant living: Caring about others, daring for others, sharing with others.”

William Arthur Ward (Dedicated scholar, author, editor, pastor and teacher)

**Awesome Billy May’s image courtesy of the very talented Tessa Cannell, http://www.myspace.com/tessaliciousdef

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