Real Relationships

Photo cred: Olga
Photo cred: Olga

We all have an agenda.  We’re all here, connecting online, to get something out of it.

In #socialmedia chat this week hosted by Chris Brogan, this topic came up and drove a pretty solid conversation.

Can we claim to develop truthful, real relationships when we’re ultimately looking to get something out of those relationships?

I love to connect with people.  I value the relationships I have built online and consider many to be close friends.  At the same time, I am online with an agenda to build my career, to create valuable professional connections and to create opportunities.

Take this one step further.  You’re supposed to engage before you pitch.  Build a relationship with a blogger before pitching them.  But if the relationship is a means to an end, where you’re ultimately looking to get coverage, how real can that relationship be?

I think you can do both.  Be realistic but be real at the same time.  You’re there to get something out of it the same way those around you are there to get something out of it.  But the existence of an agenda doesn’t mean that you can’t develop real relationships along the way.

Here’s 3 ways to know if a relationship is real…

  1. The relationships doesn’t end after the lead. Engagement will follow through.  As I said in the chat, relationships should be timeless even after the sale, or they’re not relationships, they’re leads.
  2. The engagement is mutual and meaningful. Both parties engage consistently with each other in more than passing bits of conversation.  They must have sincere interest in one another.
  3. It’s not all agenda. Is one party only engaging when they need something?  That’s not a relationship.

In the end, only you know whether or not the relationships you’re building are real, or just part of your agenda.

Are you creating real, meaningful relationships?  Or are you pretending to create relationships in order to generate leads?  Where’s the “line”?

How I Used Social Media to Get a Job

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Photo cred: Jason (aka Jasmic)

First off, I’m proud to announce that I have been hired for this Summer as the Community Manager for Scribnia (in alpha), a web start-up based out of Boston, but working out of Philly. I am extremely excited about this opportunity and look forward to what should be an amazing experience to work with some great people.

Of course I use social media for a number of reasons, with finding a job only being one of my goals albeit the main one recently.  I would not have been able to create this job opportunity without the help of the social media tools I have frequented over the past several months.  I’d like to share my journey to this point with you in hopes that it might inspire some of you who are in a similar position to embrace these concepts.

I started off at my internship at Ruder Finn Interactive (RFI) which I may be referring to as the start to my career for the rest of my life. A big part of what I did at RFI dealt with reading and outreaching blogs. I quickly learned the value of blogging and began to read more and more about the social media space. There was a lot of talk on these social blogs about Twitter and so I checked it out.

I spent a couple months not really “getting” it and really only used my Twitterberry 2-3 times a week. I started following a lot of people in the social media space like @chrisbrogan @SoItsComeToThis @Skydiver @Scobleizer and other people that I already knew that were on twitter. Eventually Twitter “clicked” for me.  By connecting and following more and more interesting and helpful people, I was directed to a lot of great blogs where I started reading and commenting like crazy. I found my passion.

I reached the point in reading and commenting on blogs while connecting on twitter where I realized that I had a lot to say about this stuff, and decided to start my own blog. I went to wordpress.com, whipped up a blog and just started writing. It didn’t take me long to realize how tough and rewarding writing a blog can be. It would take me 2-3 hours to write each post, if I can come up with good ideas for posts. For a while I was also facing the new blogger’s dilemma, where I felt like I was speaking to the world and no one was listening. It’s not a fast or easy method, but you have to stick with it.

Fast forward…after months of reading, writing and connecting, I’ve created some amazing connections/friendships with professionals who share my passion. My blog has a small but amazing community, and has allowed me to show potentially hiring companies my level of knowledge and that I have a passion for the industry. I’ve learned more from conversing and sharing with other professionals than I ever could have from my classes or books. I’ve even had the privilege to guest post at blogs that I’ve followed and looked up to from the start, like Mashable and Kyle Lacy.

The biggest lesson I think I’ve learned is to never pass up an opportunity to connect and to network. These social media tools have made it easier than ever to network and you should use it to its fullest. Even if you don’t think there is that much to gain directly from connecting with someone, you never know where an opportunity might develop. By connecting and sharing with each other, you contribute to the community and make it better for everyone… including yourself.

Stuart Foster, a smart and wittily sarcastic consultant who created The Lost Jacket asked me to write a guest post for his blog. I immediately responded telling him I would. I wrote the post where a pretty interesting conversation ensued. One of those people in the conversation checked out my blog, and found me to be a good candidate for his company’s community manager position. I am now moving to Philly this Summer (=.

Regardless of your passion, you can contribute, connect, and share using these tools.  You never know where your opportunities will come.

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