I recently had lunch with my brother and he was asking about Twitter. He’s heard me talk about it but simply didn’t understand how it worked or why it would be important. I did my little spiel for him on how and why you should be using Twitter and Facebook. I realized that it probably wouldn’t hurt to put it up here… so.. here we go.. Intro to Networking 101
Twitter and Facebook are probably the two most important tools for networking today… particularly if you are in the game industry. (For other industries, Linked In takes the place of Facebook – but the games industry is SUCH a family, that we use Facebook!)
Here’s the deal with Twitter. Twitter is the break room of the virtual office you share with EVERYONE who is important to your career.
So, say you are a programmer in the game industry and you walked by the break room and John Romero was there, talking about the latte he got on the way in that morning… .. and you DIDN’T say “hi”… how dumb would that be?
And how dumb would it be if you walked by the break room 50 times that day.. he was in there all 50 times.. and you never said “hi” … would be pretty catastrophic for your career, huh?
Well.. Twitter is that break room… and the best part is YOU get to decide who is in that break room and who YOU want to say “hi” to every time you walk by!
So it works like this.
First – Sign up for Twitter.
Second – Find someone you know who is active on Twitter and go look at the list of who they are following.
Third – follow the people they are following who are relevant to your career.
Now comes the tricky part
Watch what they are saying, when they say something that is particularly relevant to you or is something you have a good reply for… Reply to the tweet.
By replying to their tweet, you will send a tweet out that has their name attached to it. It’s highly likely they will look at it. Come on.. it’s like vanity surfing, we all do it and when someone says something that mentions you, of COURSE you are going to look!
So.. reply to something they say. Make it short, make it polite, make it relevant. It is HIGHLY likely that person will see it. If you do this a couple times (NOT all in one day please.. then you just look like a stalker) and you have smart, thought provoking POLITE things to say, it is very likely that person will look you up.. see who you are.. maybe even reply to you. Heck .. they may even FOLLOW you!
Then.. voila’ ! you are having a conversation with someone who is very important to your career!
Now just because you have made contact with these people won’t immediately make that person your new BFF. Just as saying “hi” one morning to John Romero in the break room doesn’t mean he’s gonna invite you to lunch or something. Those people are busy! So it is up to you to FARM that contact. By careful tending and maintenance, you can grow it up into something very valuable. But, it will be up to you to do it!
How do you do this? You do it by continuing to respond to things they say, tweet some things on your own that pertain to them and include them on the tweet… etc. Then, if and when you ever get a chance to meet that person, you can tell them “Hi, I’ve exchanged a few tweets with you.. ” and it’s likely they will say, “Oh yes, you’re the one that responded with that New York Times article..” or something similar.
So.. Twitter is the breakroom for the world’s office.. and one of the strongest networking tools out there.
Facebook, for the game industry, comes in a close second. The trick with Facebook.. and ANY social media for that matter is.. NEVER PUT ANYTHING ON FACEBOOK YOU WOULDN”T PUT ON YOUR BUSINESS CARD.. because that’s what it is. It’s your virtual business card. It’s where people will go to look when they are going to interview you. It’s where people go when they want to think about hiring you. It’s what will be brought up when it’s job review/promotion time. So, let me repeat
NEVER PUT ANYTHING IN SOCIAL MEDIA YOU WOULDN’T PUT ON YOUR BUSINESS CARD!
So, here’re the rules
- Change your facebook status daily
- Tweet twice a day.
- Never put anything in social media you wouldn’t put on your business card
That’s it.. do it.. just do it like its your regular job. Because it is!