The social web has been built up as a panacea for networking. You can connect with anyone! For free!
Unfortunately, everyone else can also connect with anyone for free.
There are armies of bloggers and small-business owners trying to make connections any way they can – often by following a few time-tested techniques. Commenting. Guest posting. Offering help.
None of these should be sniffed at, of course, but there’s a far better alternative out there.
Rather than trying desperately to grab a piece of someone else’s audience, earn your own. There are those who get on to high-profile blogs by guest posting, and there are those who get on to high-profile blogs by being interviewed about the great work they do.
Rarely are these the same person.
Rather than trying to co-opt a little bit of the attention someone else has earned, then, try to make yourself worthy of attention.
Robin Sloan didn’t request a guest post on a high-profile blog in order to talk about the nature of liking and loving on the internet. No, he made Fish, a ‘tap essay’ that has been downloaded thousands of times, earned hundreds of column inches, and made him someone about whom people want to write.
“I see more and more people asking for attention. More and more people ask me for retweets and reposts and shares. More and more people ask me to amplify their media.
“If we want to earn people’s attention, it’s not through begging for tweets and retweets and shares. It’s through creating information that’s useful, that others can benefit from, and that will grow the space beyond just our own needs”.
The people who matter, the people with whom you really want to connect, aren’t the types to be swayed by pleading and asking nicely. They’re swayed by seeing great work.
Rather than relying on the social web to hunt out people whose audiences you can borrow, use it to spread the great work that you’re doing yourself.
Better to dazzle and earn respect in your own right.
As the saying goes – dress for the job you want, not the job you have.