Working from home comes with a plethora of benefits including low to no overhead, the convenience of creating your own schedule, and working in a space where you can best focus on a project. However, there are also some relatively large drawbacks when you work in isolation, including a lack of effective networking opportunities. Having a hard time creating relationships with thought leaders and influencers in your industry? Here are some fool-proof ways that you can connect with important people in your field while managing your workload remotely:
1) Find relevant online groups
One of the greatest benefits of the Internet is its capacity to bring like-minded people together. The hard part isn’t necessarily finding a group; it’s deciding which ones to follow! On Linkedin, search in the “Interests” category to determine which group best suits what you’re looking for. If you can’t find one that fits, you might consider starting your own. Another good resource for finding relevant groups and influencers is Twitter. Click on a category of interest and follow leading players. From there, comment on their tweets or start a chat of your own. You may also consider following some blogs written by successful people in your field. Many times, they’ll share great tips and advice to follow. Leave a comment at the end of their blog and it’s likely they’ll respond. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the online communities that are available.
2) Attend events
It’s nice to chat online and join in discussions, but let’s face it: nothing makes as big an impression as face-to-face meetings. Websites like The Fetch gather important events in major cities around the world so that you can meet with others in your industry. If you don’t live near one of these metropolises, don’t worry. You still can attend chamber mixers, conferences, or special interest clubs in your own demographic through meetups that highlight events within a certain radius of your specific city.
3) Connect with friends (and their friends)
Whether you realize it or not, every friend you have on Facebook and every person you chat with at a party is part of your networking strategy. Think of it like this: if you have 300 friends on Facebook and each of those friends has 300 friends, you are just two steps away from thousands of people who could potentially impact your career. So make your dreams and what you do for a living known! Who knows if your high school buddy has a friend at Lucas Films or a cousin at Amazon that would be willing to give you a few pointers as to how to enter their companies.
4) Leave an online trail
Another way to meet professionals in your field is to leave a strong paper trail on the Internet. Publish your works on Articlebase, Tumblr, Google+, or LinkedIn. Create a blog to shares your professional tips and insights, and share your posts on Twitter or Facebook. Get your name out there and let others in your field find you while they’re scanning through search engine results. (Another benefit to this: you will establish credibility in your field by the knowledge you share.)
It can be difficult to connect with others in your industry when working from home, but reaching your professional potential and creating success are both tied to the business relationships that you create. Keeping up to date in your field and finding future job opportunities will depend on the people that you know or reach out to. It may take a little extra time, but the benefits will far outweigh the sacrifice.
About our writer // Christina Morales is a freelance writer specializing in creating online marketing content. Her dream is to one day rule the world with just an iPad, a case of Cherry Coke, Twizzlers, and a glue gun.
As the end of 2012 approaches, we thought it’d be nice to have an update from our beloved city curators. Lisa Lang in Berlin shares some of her most appreciated events, spaces and top moments of 2012.
Best event for meeting people?
To be honest, I don’t have a ‘best’ event. Berlin offers so many meetups and events – it is hard to say what is the best as everyones taste/needs are different.
Best event for content shared and learnings?
A highlight in town is definitely the Berlin Geekettes – they just launched the mentorship program for women in tech which will help a lot of people accelerate their careers and lives. Another event are the workshops by the Open Tech School – great place to get started with coding!
Personal event stye preference (breakfast/conference/workshop/etc/etc)?
I love the ‘first presentation then drinks’ events – get more knowledge and networking in one evening is the perfect mix.
Agora Collective is my absolute favourite, but a bit away from Mitte. Betahaus is still a great place to work in central Berlin.
Favourite cafe with wifi?
At the moment Vis a Vis as it close to my university. Melbourne Canteen is cool and has the best poached eggs in town.
What’s been a personal highlight and not so high moment of the year?
Personal highlights where the launch of my Smashing Book No. #3, hosting almost 10,000 people at Campus Party in Berlin and the launch of the Berlin Geekettes Mentorship Program. Not so high moment was the death of Stephen Richards Covey.
What have you enjoyed about being involved with The Fetch in 2012?
Getting to know more awesome events in town and meeting so many passionate people.
What are you looking forward to in 2013?
Berlin is going to reach another level in 2013. I know a number of events coming to town, more startups and more investors. It will be fast, hard, crazy and absolutely mind-blowing.
Whether you live in SF or have visited, one of the first things you’ll notice is how surprisingly unloved a lot of the Downtown area is. The section commonly referred to as Mid-Market runs from 5th to 10th Street and has witnessed quite a bit of urban decay. There’s been lots of discussion on how to improve the area over the past few decades but action seems to be finally happening now. Great organisations are popping up that are looking to develop the space while being mindful of the current diverse community. Startups such as Twitter have also recently moved in. Tomorrow evening, SGFT (pronounced ‘square foot’) will be running a full day of pop-ups. You can find out more here… we were also lucky to get a few questions in before the event. Check out Patrick and the team’s responses below:
So, why did Mid-Market become the way it is?
Mid-Market has been in limbo since the 1950s. When the BART was ripped up, it drove away business. Other social challenges have been overlayed, but the lack of businesses has been a key in keeping it the way it was. Less commerce leads to less foot-traffic, fewer employment opportunities, and less interest from the outside. Its a shame, because it truly is the center of San Francisco. When you type in San Francisco on Google maps, its right at Van Ness and Market, dead center. You can see tourists stumbling through the vacant hole that is 5th-7th, looking for some sign of welcoming presence, but not finding any until they hit Westfield mall.
What is SQFT and how is it making an impact in the area?
SQFT is a platform that connects retail entrepreneurs with vacant and underutilized spaces. Really it’s a group of four hardworking people (Bonnie, Emily, Tina, Patrick), with a very encouraging community of support. Our longer term vision is to make it easier for budding entrepreneurs to secure space in the city, bolster the local economy, create new job opportunities and bring more vibrancy into underserved neighborhoods. In the short term, we’re supporting the city’s Mid-Market revitalization efforts.
How can we work together on rejuvenating Mid-Market without displacing the current locale?
We don’t just want people to walk by, we want them to engage with the neighborhood. It’s essential the existing community plays an active role in rejuvenating the neighborhood. The platform we’re building is not only a place to rent space, but also a way to hire local labor to help entrepreneurs mind their stores, promote their event, check IDs, or even cook and serve food. Space is nothing without the people behind it, around it, in it. We’re not just selling square feet, but that space is a starting point to connect business, labor, and the community.
What are some of the benefits for new startups looking to move into the area?
Clearly that question is something to ask Twitter, Zendesk, One Kings Lane, and all the others already moving there. There’s a tax incentive, but also, I believe that startups are realizing that value comes, not from coding something magical in a basement in Palo Alto, but from being part of a creative community.
Twitter’s new art deco HQ on Market Street, photo by Troy Holden
You’re holding a pop-up this Wednesday, what kind of cool stuff will be happening?
On Wednesday, August 1st, SQFT is demonstrating the power of the pop-up in Mid-Market, San Francisco. Various locations along Market Street from 5th to 7th Street will be opening up their doors to new ideas and curious people like the readers of The Fetch.
Pop-up activities include:
Accordion Cafe Stop over on your bike commute for free bike repairs at Huckleberry Bicycles and grab some delicious De La Paz coffee. There will be an accompanying accordion player!
Market Rhythm + Lunch Shop for crafts, grab some food and take a drum lesson at the International Art Museum of America. Try the tamales and popsicles at Market Rhythm or head over to SF FoodLab for a Japanese rice bowl or Jablow’s Meats
Chess + Pop-up Library Try your hand at a streetside chess game or sit down and read at the SFPL Pop-up Library, with accompanying music from a professional string quartet
Yoga Get a good stretch at a Level 1 hour Power Yoga class
Game Night Get your game (and drink) on with a fun game night — think giant Jenga, Tic Tac Toe and Ring Toss!
What are some other Mid-Market initiatives worth checking out?
So much is going on in Mid-Market. I’m new to the area myself, and just amazed by the energy and enthusiasm to contribute.
Speaking with people who have been around for decades, you get the sense there is reason to be skeptical about five year plans, but everyone has been really excited and helpful. So specific initiatives include: The ARTery project, 5M project, Intersection for the Arts, A Temporary Offering, FoodLab, Holy Stitch, The Luggage Store, The Tenderloin National Forest, The Huckleberry Bicycles Newsstand, Luca’s Newsstand, So You Think You Can Paint. There’s a great calendar here http://centralmarketpartnership.org/events, and there’s usually something interesting here http://atemporaryoffering.com.
Tenderloin National Forest by John Angelico
Which other events do you guys attend in SF and where do you go for your SF news?
I basically say yes to every event I get. FOMO is a serious epidemic in this city. I usually end up going to one thing and just rushing around too much.
Recently I’ve been choosing only one thing per night, and I recommend checking out American Tripps Ping Pong, A show at the Orpheum, A drink a Ma’velous, Lunch at FoodLab, Chess on Market, A visit to the library, board games with friends… oh wait, I’m describing our event. Seriously though, I haven’t been getting out thanks to all the cutting and pasting involved in preparing for Wednesday.
What’s next and how can people get involved?
Take a break and swing by – you’ll be happy you did. Any time from 7:30am-11pm, so you don’t really have an excuse. I hope to see you there. Everything you need to know about this Wednesday’s launch event: www.yoursqft.com/bythesqft
Baratunde Thurston walks a fine line, existing at the intersect of politics, comedy and technology.
As the co-founder of the political blog Jack & Jill Politics, NYC comedian, author and director of digital for The Onion, Thurston often uses satire as an expression of his activism and technology as a medium for that expression.
A look at his Twitter profile will display over 95,000 followers in varying degrees of rapturous fanscrollow. In short, he tweets very, very hard. Each tweet gives insight as to how to use comedy to deliver ideas and use new technology tools as comedic performance platforms to communicate thought-provoking social commentary.
This presented every writer’s quandary – how to profile a ‘comedian, author and vigilante pundit’ so prolific and entertaining in his online presence in a way that offers new insights, when the man has so many platforms at his disposal to go forth and conquer? Luckily for said writer, Baratunde delivered the goods and more in this Q&A email exchange, offering an opinion on a range of topics from contemporary black identity, digital strategy at The Onion to personifying the swine flu pandemic on Twitter. As a master of all mediums, Baratunde offers a unique story and valuable information to the Twittersphere, managing to inspire, create and observe. He was called “someone I need to know” by Barack Obama, after all. Please welcome Baratunde to the digital stage.
Describe where you are as you answer these questions. Anything interesting to observe?
I’ve been answering in two different settings. The first is in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico overlooking the Sea of Cortez. I was down there to deliver a keynote address at Surf Summit 14, talking about creative uses of social media. The second setting is my apartment in Brooklyn, NY
It has been said that you “exist at intersection of comedy, politics and technology”. These three elements are great communications tools and are used as frontiers of change. How would you describe the intersect between these three elements – does one complement the other? How does this intersect influence your work and process and what do you find most rewarding about this?
They absolutely complement each other, and I have fun at the overlaps. For 15 years, I’ve been engaged in political comedy. I love politics, political activism and engagement. Comedy is a great wrapper to put around my own political observations and arguments though. Most people would rather hear a joke than a lecture, so comedy becomes a great delivery device for ideas. On the technology side, I love the potential offered by technology tools, especially social and interactive web platforms. However, those can get either boring or overrun by pure “business” interests and conversation. I have a good time taking these tools and using them as comedic performance platforms. For example, on Twitter I created an account called @The_Swine_Flu in which I embodied the virus and satirised the media coverage surrounding it. I’ve had friends create and play out entire comedy shows on Twitter. The case that unites all three of my passions was probably when a friend of mine and I decided to treat a mayor battle on Foursquare as a real political campaign. It was absurd, technological and quite political.
Do you think there will be a time when comedic news outlets will become just as prominent as ‘legitimate’ mainstream news media outlets?
I sincerely hope comedic news does NOT become as prominent as legit news. Comedic or satirical news works as a comment on or contrast to mainstream news programming. If you have more Daily Shows than actual news broadcasts, we have failed as a society. Satirists should never outnumber the satirised.
“… [Baratunde] has often used satire as an expression of his activism and technology as a medium for that expression.” What are the guiding principles for content on The Onion?
It’s got to be funny, and it has to feel like a legitimate news story.
Could you explain The Onion’s digital strategy? How has technology helped you to communicate the key ideas and values?
As with our non-digital strategy, the goal is to dominate the competition and be everywhere our audience is. We use digital platforms to extend our reach, provide more depth to our storytelling and offer the audience at least the pretense of participation. At the same time, we also satirise how mainstream news outlets use digital tools. So, for example, the anchor of our satirical television news show (Onion News Network) not only tweets during the show, but right in the middle of interviews she is conducting.
You are currently writing ‘How to be black’ to be released 2012. What can we expect of this? What inspired you to write this book?
The book is part memoir offering insights into my own experiences being Black in the US. It’s also part “how to” guide offering practical (comedic) advice for certain situations such as “how to speak for all black people” and “how to be the black friend”. The book came about in part from a talk I gave a few years ago about Twitter hashtags, plus a previous project with my friend and Jack and Jill Politics blog co-founder plus conversation with my publisher. I’m writing the book because I think there’s an opportunity to offer an updated view of black identity in America. We seem to be stuck with certain stereotypes of failure, crime, simplistic views of hip hop, etc. My own life story (and those of most black people in the U.S.) is much more nuanced than that. Now, an earnest book about racial identity and stereotypes would just be too boring for me. So I thought I’d make it personal and comedic.
Does The Onion gain strength by refuting the traditional ‘fourth estate’ function of the media? Does The Onion have a responsibility to make consumers of its content aware of its satirical intent or is the reader more empowered by being left to make up their own mind? What is your initial intention when publishing content?
The intent is never to confuse or fool people. The Onion is not a prankster and does not engage in hoaxes. There are a few reasons people sometimes have a hard time distinguishing our news from the real thing.
We adhere to journalistic style. So much of our comedy depends on feeling like real news. The contrast between the style and substance is where the comedy lives.
“Real” news has gotten rather absurd. Whether it’s ATM machines spewing forth cash on the streets of Sydney or reality TV star Donald Trump insisting he’s the least racist person in the world, real news sometimes seems like a joke.
Just as a standup comic doesn’t have to offer disclaimers after every joke saying “this is a joke,” and a poet doesn’t have to end each verse explaining “that was a metaphor”, The Onion doesn’t need to go out of its way to tell people it’s not actually reporting news. Doing so would undermine the art and the satire of it all. Over time, people have figured out what we do in the same way that comedy club audiences and poetry readers have done for those forms.
How do you judge what content an audience wants?
For The Onion, this is simple. The desires of the audience have very little to do with what content we produce. You have previously referred to Twitter account use as “super public forums”. How comfortable are you with having such a public profile, particularly through social media?
Overall, I’m quite comfortable with it. I’ve been on physical stages my entire life. Now I’m on a digital one. In both cases, I’m conscious of what I choose to share, and what I choose to keep private. Where it gets a little strange is when people who know my digital persona run into me on the street and know all sorts of things about what I do. It can be a bit jarring, but I don’t have any nightmare stories just yet. The key is that I actually don’t share really personal things online. People just think I do because I produce so much. Could you please describe your “social media personality” in a tweet form?