Communication in a Web 2.0 World: Writers network differently now

Blog inspiration.  My article on the Value of Good Communication got me thinking about how what is the same and what is different about communication in the Web 2.0 world.  Networking is still a fundamental skill:

  • “It isn’t just what you know, and it isn’t just who you know. It’s actually who you know, who knows you, and what you do for a living.” Bob Burg
  • Your networth is equivalent to your network.-Wealth Success & Women

How writers network has changed dramatically and that is the focus of this post.

In August 2009 I did and email interview with Janice Campbell the president and founder of The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors.  Janice and I became friends back in Feburary of 2009 when I was looking to write more.  We have been sharing and networking every since.  Here is part of that interview.

As you read it, consider how almost none of these activities would have been possible only 10 years ago.
Q. As the president of NAIWE, what percent of social networking vs. face to face networking do you do?

A. It’s probably about 70/30 in favor of social networking at this time. Although face-to-face networking is excellent, I’ve found social networking a far more efficient way to connect with a large number of writers and editors, as well as other association leaders.
Q. Are you on Linkedin and how do you use it?

A. I am on LinkedIn (and welcome connections from freelancers at http://www.linkedin.com/in/janicepcampbell), and I have made many valuable connections there. I post answers to questions that are raised in discussions, share news of upcoming NAIWE events, and try to be generally helpful.
Q. Do you believe writers should do more networking and if so, what type?

A.  I think that most writers would benefit from a strategic program of social networking. Creative writers must be cautious about allowing social networking to dilute their focus on creative writing, but for most non-fiction freelancers, social networking can be a wonderful marketing tool. I suggest that most writers do social networking during down time or otherwise non-productive moments, and keep the time spent to about 30 minutes a day on work days.

A beginning social networking strategy would include, at minimum, establishing a presence on LinkedIn and making connections with those in your industry as well as those in your ideal client’s industry. Answer questions, keep your status current, be helpful, and share information with others. Once you’re established on LinkedIn, get on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has less formal interface than LinkedIn and can be a real time-drain if you’re not careful, but its advantage is that it allows you to connect a little more personally with your audience. Twitter is very useful for sharing links to new blog posts and other news, as well as favorite quotes, tips, and ideas. You can use ping.fm to update your status at all your social networks at once, which is a major timesaver.
Q. What advice would you give writers to improve their networking skills?

Learn what the leaders in your field are doing, and model your networking after them.   Join a professional association such as the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (http://www.NAIWE.com) and be active in it.  If you’re a member of NAIWE, use the website and blog you get with your membership to create a community and let prospective clients and readers get to know, like and trust you. Read blogs and connect on social networks with those you admire, and be open and generous when sharing information. Read Twitter Power by Joel Comm, Seth Godin’s website and books, Shel Horowitz’s Principled Profit, and the problogger website. Always keep learning and growing, and be helpful and responsive to others in your field.

Q. I have seen writers use the Linkedin Q&A to gather information for an article or book. Do you think this is effective?

A.  It depends on the topic. If you’re looking for general information, experiences, or opinions, a social network is a good place to go. If you want to know more about the Visigoth’s role in the fall of Rome or the third recitative of Antonio Salieri’s Falstaff opera, you’d be better off with more traditional resources. Whichever source you use, always track sources, check references, and make correct attributions!
Q. If people want to connect with you, how would they do that?

A.  I’m always delighted to connect with other writers and editors. The association website is at http://www.NAIWE.com; I blog at http://www.janicepcampbell.com; Twitter www.twitter.com/janicecampbell ; Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/janicepcampbell; and LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/janicepcampbell. I accept connection invitations, so I hope to hear from you!

Jim Sutton
Facilitating Performance Improvement in the digital age
About Me Page

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