Sunday, March 15, 2015

Networking Online And Off

A few years ago, I joined a web-site that allows me to meet friends through clubs I am interested online. I've met groups of authors this way on several occasions and also cultivated random friendships with other women.

A lot of people who are on the site find it intimidating because it involves meeting a bunch of strangers all at once. A lot of the groups meet in restaurants, so there's also the problem of figuring out where you are supposed to go when you've never met any of these people before. Many people sign up and get too scared to go.

I don't have that much of a problem with it. Maybe I am weird, especially for an introvert, but I find it more comfortable, when I am around new people, to be around a whole group of new people rather than just one person. I think the reason I feel this way is that as an introvert, I am often quiet or do not know what to say. When I am around a group of people, there is guaranteed going to be at least one person who knows what to say and can fill the silence.

The really hard part for me is when I get one-on-one. I don't know where to look. I don't want to look at the other persons eyes too much, but I also don't want to look away too much or I'll seem nervous. I get scared we'll run out of things to talk about and try to run through a list of questions in my head to ask (unsuccessfully.)

I relate to social media in a very similar way. I find it easy to write blog posts or post things on twitter than to interact one-on-one. When people e-mail me or message me, I find myself at a loss of what to say. I also often struggle to know how to respond to my comments. I like facebook because it lets me press "like" when I read a comment. I am good at reading comments and when I press "like", the person knows I read it and am listening, but when I am on a blog or in my e-mail, I can't press "like." I thought what they said was interesting and good, but sometimes I don't have anything to add to it.

It has made some networking with authors awkward for me, I think. I only know how to talk to them through their statuses and don't know how to ask them questions privately or even ask for other things.

Lately, I've really wanted to get together with other authors and exchange sample pages that we can post in each others books or organize a giant contest where we all pitch in a little or write an anthology.

Most authors are introverts, but sometimes you just can't be. You have to reach out and try. You have to go outside your comfort zone. I hope to do this more and more in the future. That's why I am glad I recognized this aspect of myself. I want to make it better.