Don’t Miss The Boat! Belated Networking Lessons, Courtesy of ProBlogger
A while back…
I had a good long whine about missed opportunity, and my failure at bloggy networking 1.0.
As I said then, I was a fairly early reader of some now hugely successful figures in the blog world – specifically, Darren Rowse and Brian Clark. But I was shy, and intimidated, so I didn’t get to know them.
I read them, recommended them, but rarely interacted, networked with them or took advantage of their audience building promotions, because “it wasn’t my niche.” I quietly watched their audiences, blogs and businesses grow, and took a wistful sort of pride as their names became synonymous with online success stories. Still, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d missed the boat and was left standing on the dock with a broken champagne bottle.
Every year or so, that feeling would return as Problogger published another list of up and coming bloggers to watch, none of whom I knew. I’d read and smile and wave, wish them good journeys and mutter about having missed my opportunity.
Then an odd thing happened…
I recognized a face, a name.
Woohoo! Go Pace Smith! She’s in my Twitter stream. We Tweet! Her partner Kyeli and I Tweet! We’ve even tried (and failed) to meet for coffee… twice! Why, that makes us practically family. And I was thrilled to see her there, a friend on that list of important awesome people. Seriously!
And OMG, Willie Hewes, monster-artist! And there’s El, of Heaven And El, who mentioned me in one of her glorious entertaining podcasts! Yay! There’s Mr.ByBloggers, Jonathan Wondrusch, and Catherine Caine, whose magical Donkey I keep stealing on Twitter, with the help of mutual friend KirstyMHall. (not on the list but she’s brilliant anyway). And David Crandall, whose unicorns have likewise been “liberated” by Kirsty and I for the Circus Menagerie.
The point of all this?
I didn’t “miss the boat” way back when, because there is always another boat. Let me repeat that, in bold, with flourishes:
There Is Always Another Boat.
And sometimes, the other boat is a better fit.
In this case, by taking a later boat, I wound up on a cruise full of folks that I don’t just like and respect, but whom I genuinely feel I belong with. Our interactions are easy and natural, and (so far as I know) have nothing to do with intentional business networking for profit and exposure.
We interact not because it’s part of a “social media marketing plan” but because it’s fun. Somewhere among them may be the next Darren Rowse or Brian Clark. Hell, maybe I’m the next Darren Rowse or Brian Clark (even though that would mean a sex change and is extremely unlikely)
So if you’re feeling left behind, like the train-boat-plane is leaving with out you, take a deep breath. There’s still time to get on board *this* boat – all of the people mentioned above are exceptionally friendly group, and they’re easy to talk to. But if you don’t feel like you’re ready, or don’t feel like you quite fit?
That’s ok too. Really.
Despite all the dire predictions, the Internet isn’t going anywhere. Yes, the landscape will shift and evolve. Yes, business models will change, but that’s a good thing. Each time a group advances, they leave room for the next group to move up in their wake, with a much bigger community already in place.
Mind you, this isn’t permission for procrastination on your dreams.
It *is* permission to stop freaking out, stop believing that it’s now or never, stop fearing that opportunity never knocks twice.
We’re lucky enough to live in a world where we can create our own opportunities, a world where there is always room for more success… a world where there is always another boat.
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