It’s clear, online social networking is here to stay and will be for a long long time. If you haven’t created your online persona on Twitter, Facebook etc.. then you might be missing opportunities to meet and interact with some great people. Developers tend to be a perfect fit for social networking.
Why should you care?
The quality of your career is directly linked to the quality of your network. This is true for your non-virtual social network as well as your virtual one (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In etc…).
Where will your next job, contract or consulting opportunity come from? Most of my new projects come from repeat business or referrals from my social network.
I’m way too busy and don’t have time
You’re convinced. You know you need to be social but you can’t find the time to commit to Twitter and Facebook. You don’t need to watch your feed like a hawk.
Here are a few techniques that can help you manage your online social interactions.
- Check your direct messages and mentions at least twice a day.
- Select a list of folks that you want to follow and interact with.
- Create a twitter list that you check regularly.
- Decide on a schedule that you’ll stick to. This will help your followers know when to expect you to be responsive
I don’t really have anything to share
We’ll that’s not true, even for the introverted. The beauty of the web is that there’s an audience for just about every subject you can think of. If you’re interested in something peculiar you can bet that someone out there shares the same interest and is looking for someone to share it with.
- Share insights as well as links to articles you find interesting.
- You can ask a coding question.
- Share a cool snippet of code you just wrote by using tools such as Paste Bin
- Promote you blog.
Be the same person online and offline
Consider this very probable scenario. You’ve signed up to an online dating site and you’ve been chatting with an interesting person for over a week. It’s going very well and you’ve connected at many levels. You finally decide to meet them in person only to be surprised that he/she is not at all as he/she described.
You online persona is more and more linked to who you are in person. Don’t be fake. Be you.
Show genuine interest
Most successful people I know are great at making people around them feel important. When you show genuine interest in others you elevate them. There are many ways of doing this online such as Facebook “likes” and Twitter “retweets”. Those are fine but instead you might want to try to interact with the person and show interest.
Engage with them with Facebook “Comments” and Twitter “Replies”. Offer you congratulations for success and your support for failures. Failures are just as important as successes in my book.
Meet them in person
Like the dating analogy above at some point you’ll probably want to meet in person (In Real Life). This might happen by serendipity, through a friend or over a coffee at a local shop. Either way take advantage of the opportunity.
Interacting with your social network doesn’t have to take all of you time. Create some structure and make it work for you. Make sure you are the same person online as you are in person and show genuine interest is what people do. You never know where the next opportunity will present itself.
This article may also apply to non developers.
I look forward to sharing with you. Let me know if you find this helpful.
Sebastien Aube is the President of Cognitive X Systems, a software consulting company.