Networking on Social Media

Networking on a social-media site can feel like entering a room full of strangers. At first, you don’t know whom to talk to, which voices to trust, and which to ignore. The situation can be awkward, and you may feel lost in the crowd, but here are some strategies that will help you break the ice and make a good impression.

Step 1:

Break the Ice

On social media, you can connect with others either directly or indirectly. One direct approach is to simply ask someone a question and wait for an answer. This approach may feel a little abrupt, however, like a pushy salesperson at a mall. A less intrusive approach is to introduce yourself in one of the following ways:

  • Share or Retweet (see page 276) one of the person’s messages, along with a complimentary comment.
  • Mention to your own followers how you respect or enjoy this person’s ideas. Remember to include the person’s social-media handle (name) in your “shout-out.” That way, your mention will show up on his or her account.
  • Join a conversation by replying to one of the person’s status updates or Tweets. Either add useful information, ask a good question, or show your genuine interest in the topic.

Step 2:

Advance the Conversation

After you have engaged the person by focusing on his or her interests, you can advance the conversation by introducing yourself and asking any questions you may have. Twitter can prove to be a good source of school-related information. Remember to use a polite and friendly tone, and if the connection proves useful, you may be able to network beyond Twitter through avenues like email or Skype.

Your Turn Have you ever used social media to find help with your school projects? If so, discuss your experience; and if not, consider how you might use social media in your future projects.