Hello kids, I’m back and posting. Consider yourself warned. And, yes. The title of this post is taken from those bizarre ads you see online where “One weird trick” seems to exist to do everything you might be wanting to do.
Here’s my one weird networking tip:
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, oh my. There are so many online ways in which genealogists can meet and greet these days, it can be a confusing landscape. Each platform has its own terminology, etiquette, and challenges – friends, connections, followers, requests, introductions, and more. For non-techy folks, it may seem more trouble than it’s worth. Believe me, though, it is WELL worth the effort. One way to simplify things is to understand that networking online is really no different than networking in person. You just need to adapt the tools of each platform to do electronically what you would do in person.
One of the things I’ve noticed is an increase in the amount of blind connection requests I get from genealogists (and others, to be fair). On LinkedIn, this is a request from someone I don’t know, but can usually figure out that they are somehow connected to genealogy. All that’s included in the request is the boilerplate “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” On Facebook, this is the default way to “friend” someone, as there’s no way to send a message directly with your request. If I see you are a genealogist, or we have common genealogy friends, I usually accept the request.
However, on both LinkedIn and Facebook, I think you will have much more success building your network, and the quality of that network will be greater, if you personalize each request. We have reasons that we want to connect with someone. We need to tell them what they are; whether it’s because you might want to hire them, they share a specialty with you or have a specialty you might need down the road, or maybe you are just looking to expand your network. Say that. While Facebook doesn’t allow you to send a message with the friend request – send them a direct message to go along with it.
As part of the request, make some comments and ask some questions that go beyond “I’d like to add you” and the reasons. Open a discussion that allows you to get to know each other a little bit. I’ve probably gotten five or six connection requests on LinkedIn the last few days, and not one of them changed the standard “greeting.” In most of those cases, I haven’t communicated with them besides accepting the connection request. That connection is really doing neither is us any good. I kinda don’t like the term “networking.” What we are really doing is building relationships. I don’t want to amass a giant database of people. I want to know each of you that are in there – even if just a little bit.
You can connect with me using the buttons on the right of the page. I look forward to meeting you!