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networking

Why the Office Slacker is Getting Ahead

I’m a member of a new group for women rainmakers. We get together about every other month to chat about our marketing efforts and challenges. They’re wonderful women but I cringed at our last meeting when one member suggested that we make a concerted effort to refer each other business.

Summertime lunch @ Bryant Park Aug 2009-03 by Ed Yourdon from Flickr

Summertime lunch @ Bryant Park, Aug 2009-03 by Ed Yourdon from Flickr

I understand why she made this suggestion – the ultimate purpose of networking is to get more business, but I think too many people miss that the point is building relationships. I avoid all referral-based networking groups like BNIs. These groups only let one person from of each type of profession join the group and the overt expectation is you’ll give referrals to other group members. This might be a good idea if you’re new to town and building a network from scratch. But I’ve lived in my city for nearly a decade so even though I’m a relatively new lawyer, I already have my go-to network professionals that I know and trust. Why would I refer work to someone I’ve had lunch with in a big group setting three times over the person I’ve worked directly with for years?

A lot of professionals, and especially women, don’t get that relationship-building aspect of networking. My female counterparts who work in firms mistakenly believe that working hard at their jobs will eventually get them what they want. And I don’t think that’s true – that method will keep you where you are. The reason why the “slacker” in the office is moving up the ranks faster is because they’re taking the time to form mutually-beneficial relationships in and outside the company. Their connections lead to the opportunities that get them ahead. This is why Lois Frankel advises women that they need to spend 5% of their day “wasting time” and building relationships.

The most successful people I know have meet and greet meetings at least three times a week, who never eat alone, and really get to know people. They don’t just talk to people about their work. They talk about their kids, where they like to travel, their favorite hobbies – stuff that feels irrelevant in the professional world, but is the stuff that matters most. They don’t have a list of contacts; they have a network of relationships.

And let me tell you a secret – I have a bad memory when it comes to people. I have to meet you at least 3 times to remember who are. I maintain a database of my contacts and I keep track of what you do and also what we talked about in terms of kids, vacations, upbringing, etc. It’s the personal connections that become the basis of our relationship. (If you’re a jerk, I will write myself a note that reminds me to never send business your way.)

I will almost never refer business to someone I’ve met once and exchanged business cards at a networking event. I refer business to people I see on a regular basis and who I genuinely like as a person. It happened this year with my friend Jeremy Rodgers who I met about a year ago. He works at Community Tire Pros and Auto Repair. I see him at events all the time. We never talk about work beyond the generic, “How’s business?” We chat about things that are way more interesting. He’s a nice guy and I like what his company does in the community. When I needed new tires this year, I didn’t think to go anywhere except Community Tire. (BTW – They took wonderful care of me and my car.)

In a world where, “It’s not who you know, but who knows you,” relationship building needs to be a priority. People hire people, not businesses so making connections with others is critical. And it can be a challenge to give yourself permission to make building relationships a priority – it is for me. I constantly remind myself that going to events and especially doing the one-on-one follow-up creates the foundation on which my future success will be built.

Reconciling my Personal & Professional Lives – or Not

A friend recently suggested I write a blog post about how I reconcile my professional life with the fact that I do flash mobs and wear pasties. My initial thought in response to that was “I don’t.”

Ignite Phoenix After Hours #3 - photo by Devon Christopher Adams

Ignite Phoenix After Hours #3 – photo by Devon Christopher Adams

For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m a lawyer by trade, I do flash mobs with Improv AZ for fun, and yes, there are times when I appear in public wearing pasties instead of a shirt. I’m also a runner, a basset hound owner, a Star Trek geek, and a singer. My standard “uniform” is jeans and a t-shirt but my closet has everything from business suits to miniskirts and tank tops to ball gowns.

When I say that I don’t reconcile my professional and personal lives I mean that I’m not a different person in personal and professional settings. Wherever I go, I’m always me. There may be topics I don’t bring up in certain settings, but if they come up, I’m fine with it. There’s nothing I do in public that I wouldn’t own in any situation.

When I was first getting involved in social media professionally, I asked if I should have separate Twitter accounts for my personal and professional lives. The audience responded with an astounding “NO!” They said that people want to know the whole person so there’s no reason to separate the personal from the professional sides of my personality. They said that some people will seek me out because I’m different than others in my field – and that has totally been true! I had one person schedule a consultation with me after his daughter saw me at one of my speaking engagements. She told her dad that he’d like me because I swear.

Have there been repercussions? I wouldn’t call them repercussions as much as natural consequences. There are people who are turned off from me because I’m bold and don’t conform to the traditional lawyer stereotype. And that’s ok. On the flip side there are people who like that I’m different and that my personal and professional lives are integrated. It’s so much easier to be one person instead of trying to maintain separate professional and personal lives.

The only thing I do keep separate is my Facebook page. If you’re not my friend in real life, you don’t get to be my friend on my personal Facebook page. My Facebook page is where I put things that only my friends find interesting, but I’ll still own everything I post if anyone asks. If you’re not my friend in real life, you’re better off liking the law firm’s Facebook page and following me on Twitter.

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Going Pantsless was the Best Thing I Did in Law School

The best thing I did in law school was the 2009 No Pants Light Rail Ride in Phoenix, Arizona. The people I met there opened the doors to the opportunities that made me the lawyer and the person I am today.

Photo by Jamey Peachy

Improv Everywhere has been doing the No Pants Subway Ride since 2002. In preparation for the 2009 ride, they invited everyone to organize No Pants Rides on the same day in cities all over the world. Jeff Moriarty conspired with a small group of his friends to do a ride on the newly opened light rail in Phoenix. I was a first-year law student and really a nobody in my school and the greater legal community. I didn’t know Jeff back then, but I saw the event on Facebook and signed up to do it with some of my friends.

On the day of the ride, all of my friends who were supposed to do the No Pants Ride with me chickened out. I wasn’t surprised. I said, “You guys all suck. I’m going without you” and I headed out to Tempe to meet my fellow pantsless riders. I figured Jeff had to be a cool guy for organizing the ride, so I purposely stood next to him on the ride and chatted all the way to our final destination.

The rest is history. I can show you, in 7 connections or less, how participating in the 2009 No Pants Ride led to some of my best professional opportunities and experiences.

No Pants Ride >>> Establishing Myself as a Legal Expert

  • Many of the people at the 2009 No Pants Ride are involved in blogging. This inspired me to have a blog.
  • Jeff Moriarty helped me create UndeniableRuth.com in January 2010.
  • I wrote, and still write, weekly posts about legal issues.
  • My posts demonstrated that I have a unique voice and competence in certain areas of law.
  • I parlayed my expertise into opportunities to write dozens of guest blog posts; provide quotes for news articles and blogs; participate in TV, radio, and podcast interviews; and give presentations at conferences.

No Pants Ride >>> Sponsor A Law Kid  

  • I met Jeff at the 2009 No Pants Ride.
  • Jeff is the creator of Ignite Phoenix. He encouraged me to apply to be an Ignite presenter.
  • I was selected for Ignite Phoenix #5 to present Frosting the Law.
  • Kade Dworkin was one of my fellow presenters at Ignite Phoenix #5.
  • Kade had a podcast in 2010 called Meet My Followers where he interviewed his Twitter followers.
  • One of Kade’s guests was Jason Sadler, founder of I Wear Your Shirt.
  • I Wear Your Shirt inspired me to create Sponsor A Law Kid, that funded part of my final semester of law school in 2011.

No Pants Ride >>> Paid Blogger for Attorney at Work

  • A group of us from the 2009 No Pants Ride founded Improv AZ to continue to do flash mobs and pranks in Phoenix.
  • Planning events with Improv AZ sparked my interest in flash mob law.
  • I asked Ari Kaplan whether this might be a viable niche.
  • Ari used my interest in an article for Law Practice Magazine in the fall of 2009.
  • The editor of the magazine, Mark Feldman, loved it. He continued to follow me and blog.
  • When Mark created Attorney at Work with Joan Feldman and Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, they invited me to be one of their professional bloggers in 2011.

And that’s the tip of the iceberg. I can show how the No Pants Ride led to making some of my best professional connections, writing my first book, developing an interest in podcasting, and meeting some of the most wonderful people in my life.

The 2012 Global No Pants Ride is this Sunday, January 8th in at least 56 cities. If there’s a ride near you, you should go. You never know what will come out of it.

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Top 10 Blogging Tips for Law Students

Blogging Research Wordle

Image by Kristina B via Flickr

I recently got an email from Jonathan Negretti, a 2L at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He and his classmate recently launched a legal blog, and he asked me to provide some feedback. They’ve created a good based they can build on. Starting a blog as a 2L is a great idea because it gives you some time to build a following and demonstrate some areas of expertise before you graduate.

Here are the top 10 blogging rules that I shared with him.

  1. Whenever you do a legal blog post, put a disclaimer at the top that informs the reader that you are not a lawyer or giving legal advice. Here is the disclaimer that I use: “I am not an attorney. In accordance with ABA policy, this blog should not be viewed as legal advice. It is simply my experiences, opinions, and stuff I looked up on the internet.”
  2. Use lots of links. Put links in your posts to applicable laws, other blogs, and news stories. This builds up your credibility and is a great way to connect with other bloggers.
  3. Get a Twitter account to network and announce when you publish a new blog post. It’s better to have an account for yourself, not your blog, because people want to connect with you as a person. You should also announce new posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+.
  4. Complement your posts with interesting images. I get good ones for free from Zemanta and CreativeCommons.org. If you are using images from Creative Commons, be sure to use images that you can adapt and use for commercial purposes.
  5. It’s perfectly acceptable to invite others to write guest posts on your blog. Be sure to include a bio for them at the bottom with links to their blog, Twitter account, LinkedIn account, etc.
  6. If your plan is to open a law practice after graduation, check your state’s ethics rules regarding legal advertising before inviting people to hire you.
  7. If you are compensated for writing a blog or get free merchandise in exchange for writing a review, you must disclose it in the blog post. There’s an FTC regulation about that.
  8. Approve all non-spam comments, even from people who are mean or disagree with you. It shows that you’re not afraid to discourse and that you’re open to other perspectives. If you can stay level headed while other people are losing their minds, it makes you look articulate and confident.
  9. Respond to every comment. Blogging is an effective way to start conversations.
  10. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Some of the most memorable blog posts are the ones where the author takes a strong stance that not everyone agrees with. They inspired people to leave comments and be part of the discussion. One of the best things I did in law school was Sponsor A Law Kid, and it was also one of the most controversial.

If you have any questions or tips for neophyte law student bloggers, please leave them as comments. This is one of those areas where law schools don’t always prepare their students to effectively use a networking tool.

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How Networking Works

When I started law school, the career services office often spoke about the value of networking, but no one really went into the nuts and bolts of how to do it. Many of my peers had little or no professional experience, so they tried to network as best they could but often made blunders, like showing up at networking events with resumes in hand expecting to get a job interview or a job offer. They weren’t taught that networking is about creating and maintaining a professional network. It’s a continuous process, not an event.

I want to share a recent experience that shows how networking works for me.

Stepping Stones by oatsy40 from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Stepping Stones by oatsy40 from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

During the spring semester of my 1L at Arizona State University, the school invited author Ari Kaplan to speak at the school about how to create professional opportunities for yourself. I appreciated the fact that he encouraged people to be interesting and to stand out from the crowd. While he was still talking, I found him on LinkedIn and sent him a request to connect.

I stayed in contact with Ari. He was the person I called when I had a professional development question that I didn’t feel comfortable asking anyone at my law school because I was afraid it would hurt my reputation. Yes, despite being daring and outspoken, I’m very thoughtful about my actions.

I spent my 1L summer with the U.S. Army JAG and I got to sit in on some of the training classes for military police officers. I learned a lot about crimes that they didn’t cover during law school, like solicitation and conspiracy. As a co-founder of Improv AZ, it made me think about the ways we could get arrested just for planning a prank or flash mob.

Ari often speaks about the benefit of creating a professional niche. I sent him an email asking if he thought flash mob law was viable niche for me. He wrote me back that night. He was working on an article on creating a targeted niche for the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine. He said his article as written was dry and he asked if he could use me as an example of someone who is using his suggestions. I was ecstatic. Mark Feldman at Law Practice Magazine loved Ari’s article so much he contacted me to get pictures from Improv AZ’s flash mobs to go with it.

Ari and I regularly keep in touch, and I continue to explore my niche by writing about the legal side of various pranks and flash mobs. Having a blog, especially one with a candid approach made me stand out from my peers and opened the door to many opportunities to be a guest blogger.

Recently, I received an unexpected email from Mark Feldman. He started new venture, Attorney at Work, with his wife Joan Feldman and Merrilyn Astin Tarlton. This site provides practical information and advice on creating a law practice. They thought my writing was “wonderful,” and they invited me to bring my “undeniable Ruth voice” to their site as a monthly writer.

I’m excited to announce that starting this month, I am a contributing writer for Attorney at Work. My monthly posts will focus on the real-world technical side of lawyering.

I never expected an opportunity like this to fall into my lap, and it didn’t happen overnight. This was two years in the making through maintaining relationships, having a regular public presence, and doing consistent good work. That’s networking.

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Business Cards for Law Students

Lawyerist recently wrote a great post about why lawyers need business cards. They are a simple yet effective tool to have when networking.  You never know whose hands your card will end up. The same lesson is true for law students, and law students have more freedom to design cards that fit their personality.

Every law student should have business cards. Over the last year, I’ve picked up a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to selecting and designing a personal card. Every card should have the following information:

  • Your Name,
  • Your School,
  • JD Candidate,
  • Class of ______,
  • Your Phone Number, and
  • Your Email Address.

There are three main options for cards.

Option #1: School Business Cards
Many law schools give their students the opportunity to purchase business cards. These tend to have a simple and clean look. Students customize their cards with their personal information.  This is my friend Stephanie Green’s card.

Stephanie's Business Card - Address & Phone Info Removed

She realized after she had them printed that she shouldn’t have put her address on them because she’s moved twice since then.  Additionally, you might not want to put your home address on your card because you never know who will end up with that information.

I was happy when my school offered business card for sale; however, I cringed when I saw the template.  It was way too plain for me.  All the white space was a turn off for me.  I needed something with more personality and color.

Option #2: Personalized Business Cards
Vistaprint and Moo have many options for people who want more colorful and creative business cards. Vistaprint has many templates for free business cards that are suitable for law students. These companies make business cards for businesses, and the templates are designed to make the company the focus and not the individual. My classmate input his information exactly as the template suggested, and the result looked similar to this.

Bad Business Card

This design was perfect for his personality, but his card looks odd because you focus on the school and not him. Students who opt to have more personalized cards must remember that templates suggest where you put certain information but you can chose what information you put on it and where you put it. If I had this card as a law student, here’s how I’d do it.

Good Business Card

I think it’s better for students to put a non-school email address, because the information will continue to be current if someone wants to reach them after they graduate. However, the email address must look professional – something like YourName@gmail.com.

Option #3: Untraditional Business Cards
Some people are extremely creative when it comes to their business cards. Jason Tenenbaum got his business cards from Moo. It has a picture on the front and a QR code on the back that links to his information.

A divorce lawyer has a sassy business card that’s perforated in the middle with the same information on both sides. It pushes the envelope on appropriateness, but it makes me laugh. It’s a great gimmick.

In some industries, it’s common to have MiniCards – half sized business cards. I considered getting these instead of business cards, but I changed my mind when I showed a MiniCard to a young up-to-date lawyer, and he couldn’t understand what it was. In the future, I think I will have both standard business cards and MiniCards and will let the setting determine which one I use.

Along with business cards, every law students should have a business card case.  Without a case, the corners of the cards will become bent and dirty in a wallet or pocket. Reasonably priced ones are available from Amazon and VistaPrint, and more exciting ones are available on ThinkGeek and UncommonGoods.

Reinventing Professional Services – Top 5 Tips For Lawyers

Photo courtesy of Ari Kaplan Advisors

Ari Kaplan’s new book, Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace addresses the question of how professionals can integrate new technologies into their businesses to be more influential and effective.  Loaded with resources and stories from professionals in all industries, Ari’s book provides suggestions about how to use social media, blogging, e-newsletters, and video/audio recordings that makes them less daunting.

As I read this book, I reflected on the legal profession, which has the stereotypes of being dignified and particular, and where deviating from the norm is often frowned upon.  Many lawyers and law firms shy away from online resources and tools.  Perhaps this is because of the strict rules in the profession about advertising and soliciting clients, or because members the profession have a low tolerance for making mistakes.

I’ve compiled the top five lessons lawyers can integrate from this book into their professional lives.

1.       Social Media is a Tool, not the Goal.
It seems that a lot of professionals think that having a Facebook page, a Twitter profile, or a blog is enough, but then they never use them.  Doing this is like buying a hammer and never building anything.  These professionals do not understand that these are tools to communicate more effectively with other professionals and clients.  These are merely channels to “cultivate relationships.”  These are fantastic tools for building trust by being genuine and consistent.  Using these tools is not a one-time event; it requires “habitual participation.”

2.       Be a “Visible Enthusiastic Expert.”
This is one of the best lessons I took from this book.  Being a visible enthusiastic expert means being part of the online conversation on topics where you have interest and expertise.  It’s important to contribute “rich content” and to convey your passion.  Conversing with other experts in an online forum is an effective way to become associated with them.  Even the simple act of sharing a link to another’s work shows that you are aware and informed about a topic.  Additionally, being transparent about who you are and what you can do without being a salesperson conveys to others that you care about a particular issue or population.

3.       Pick Your Targets.
Having a solid online presence is a good start, but it’s not the end.  When there are people you want to connect with, you have to reach out to them.  Don’t wait for them to find you.  Websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ are instant ice-breakers for introducing yourself to new people.  They provide comfortable opportunities to ask a person for advice or for an informational interview.  If your first attempt at interaction fails to produce the desired result, be sure to follow up.

4.       Do Not Be Afraid to Fail.
Law students are instilled with the notion that they must always be perfect – perfect appearance, perfect cover letters, perfect work product, etc.  They graduate thinking the worst thing they could do is misspell a word on an email.  This can make them gun shy to try new things.  Ari’s book demonstrates that most of these new tools are easier to use than you think.  He encourages readers to consider who they want to connect with, where they are interacting, and to join the conversation.  He promises that you will fail some of the time, and that’s ok.  If you try using an e-newsletter and it doesn’t work for you, you can use another tool like blogging or LinkedIn to reach your audience.  Figuring out what works for you and your business is part of the process.

5.       Never Forget the Value of In-Person Contact
Using technology to communicate with someone is less intimidating than picking up the phone; however it is more impersonal.  Nothing will ever replace face-to-face contact, which is more personal and memorable.  It is important to look for opportunities to meet people in person whenever possible and to continue to build relationships with thoughtful follow up.

Using these tips and tools requires willingness and commitment.  The potential benefits of using technology should overpower any fears that come with trying new things.  Always keep in mind that these tools are to facilitate interaction, not for self-promotion.

Ari Kaplan, a Fastcase50 honoree, is the principle of Ari Kaplan Advisors in New York City and the author of The Opportunity Maker, Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development (Thomson-West, 2011).  I bartered this blog post in exchange for a copy of his new book. 

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Law School: If I could do it again . . .

Today is my graduation day from law school.  I’ve been reflecting all week about my law school experience . . . when I haven’t been running around like a crazy person taking care of everything that I’ve put off during the semester but have to get done before BarBri starts next week.  It’s been fun to remember the person I was when I started this adventure three years ago compared to who I am today.

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Green

So the big question is, if I had to do it all again, knowing what I know now, would I have gone to law school?  Absolutely!  I went to law school because I was told it was the best education a person can get, regardless of whether they become a lawyer.  That statement is still true.  If I could do it all over again, I’d still go to law school, but I’d do it a little differently . . .

I would have skipped more classes. The American Bar Association permits students to miss up to 10% of every course.  I should have taken full advantage of that.  There were so many opportunities for law students to attend workshops and conferences; however I felt that I couldn’t attend them because it was drilled into my head that missing class would result in me not learning the material.  While I believe that going to class is important, some things are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that are worth occasionally missing class.

I would have published more papers. I’m graduating from law school as a co-author of a book chapter about government regulation of emerging technologies; however I have close to final drafts of papers on the legalities of organizing flash mobs, the legal side of blogging, and the legalities of GPS technology.  They are all on my back burner of projects that I’ll get to when I have time.  It would have been nice to have submitted at least one of them for publication in a legal journal.

I would have networked more. I have tried to seek out my fellow geeks in the legal community and people who have been successful following their passions.  I am glad to have been bold enough to reach out to some wonderful people during my law school career and develop some great relationships.  I wish I had had the time and energy to do more of it.

I would have started Sponsor A Law Kid sooner. I wish I had thought of Sponsor A Law Kid when I first started this blog.  This campaign has paid for approximately 1/3 of my tuition during my final semester of law school and it has provided the opportunity to meet some wonderful people and businesses.  It would have been amazing if I had been able to use this to fund my entire education.

I never would have looked at my grades. I went into law school like everyone else, thinking that you have to be in the top 25% to be successful.  It made me focus too much on grades and not enough of learning the materials.  Once I figured out that grades are meaningless, I stopped looking at them.  I switched my focus to learning the law, and I became so much happier and learned so much more.  I was more creative, efficient, and relaxed.  I have not seen my grades since my first semester of law school, and I’ve been told that my GPA has gone up every semester since.  Being in the top 25% is a requirement for some people’s professional dreams, just not mine.

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Why Lawyers Should Use Twitter

I have a friend who has been a personal injury lawyer for decades.  He’s a solo practitioner with enough cases to keep him comfortably in business.  He was my lawyer after I was involved in a car accident and he did a wonderful job settling my case.  He has a great reputation and gets the majority of his business through word-of-mouth.  He has a website and occasionally writes a blog.  He recently asked me why he should be on Twitter if he doesn’t need it to drum up business.

Free twitter badge

Image via Wikipedia

I think my friend doesn’t see any value in sitting on Twitter all day reading and responding to others’ tweets.  I think he’s right on that point, but I don’t think he sees some of the other benefits of having a Twitter account.  I’ve been pondering his question for a few weeks and I’ve come up with the top three reasons why a lawyer in his position would want to have a Twitter presence.

  1. Promote Your Blog – I love that my friend writes a blog, but if no one knows when he has something new posted, who is going to read it?  I have a lawyer friend who mostly uses his Twitter account to announce when he has posted a new blog.  I love when he writes, but he doesn’t publish on a set schedule.  I appreciate the notice when he has something new for us to read.
  2. Stay On The Radar – By using a Twitter account, a solo practitioner remind others that they exist in a non-intrusive way.  It also makes it easier for people who promote you within the Twitterverse.   For example, I recently had a friend ask me for a recommendation for a real estate lawyer in Arizona.  I didn’t know any lawyers who practice in this area, so I put the question out on Twitter.  (Note – I only put the question out on Twitter.)  I received two recommendations within 24 hours.  I appreciated the response that provided a name, a Twitter handle, and a website more than the response that just gave me a name.  It gives people a way to get to know you before they initiate a conversation with you.  If you saw a tweet where someone mentioned you, you could post a thank-you tweet and continue to build goodwill for your firm.
  3. Stay Abreast of Legal News – I get multiple legal magazines every month and I don’t have time to flip through them all.  Instead, I follow various entities on Twitter who post links to articles and blogs on the latest legal news.  It’s a more efficient way to know what’s going on in the legal world.

When it comes to social media like Facebook and Twitter, it’s important for lawyers (and any professional) to look at it as a tool, and evaluate it whether it can assist them in their business.  With Twitter, it’s about having public conversations in an online community and people can engage where they are comfortable.  In the big picture, I think it’s better to be partially involved and engage a little bit, than not to be involved at all.

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SALK Day 13 – Friendships Through Social Media

Today’s sponsor is my friend, Debbie Walker, who is an outspoken blogger and podcaster.  She asked me to write about how our involvement in “social media type events” led to friendships between participants.

Phoenix is a city known for its transplants.  It seems like everyone here moved from somewhere else.  This is also a city where it is hard to find new friends and establish a sense of community.  This was a complaint I heard all the time when I was a therapist.  My suggestion to my clients was to get involved in activities that they enjoyed and that would lead to meeting people with similar interests.   Social media has made this process even easier.

#EVFN San Tan Brewery
Image by sheiladeeisme via Flickr

There are a host of events that are organized through social media that bring together people who otherwise would probably never meet.  Some of these local events are Podcamp AZ, #evfn, Ignite Phoenix, and events by Improv AZ.  Some of these events are educational and some are just for fun, but they all involve smart witty people who want to meet and converse with other smart witty people.

One of the wonderful things about making connections through “social media type events” is that it facilitates friendship between diverse people.  For most of us, “social media type events” are what we do in our free time.  By day, we’re advertisers, teachers, writers, students, and business owners.  Most of us are people whose paths wouldn’t otherwise cross if it weren’t for our shared interest in social media and volunteering at social media events.

The best thing about these events is that they constantly bring other people into the mix.  None of these events involve an exclusive group.  We always welcome new friendly people.  It can be daunting to be the new person at an event, but the people that attend these events are always willing to talk to the new guy.  I was once the new guy and I was petrified of attending an event where I didn’t know anyone.  I started with a prank event where I met one person.  He invited me to be part of the core organizers of Improv AZ.  That led to me learning about, presenting at, and now volunteering with Ignite Phoenix.  My conversations with these fantastic people led to my interest in podcasting and blogging which led to my invovlement with PodcampAZ.  Somewhere in there I also added the Social Media Club Phoenix and #evfn.  The people who were strangers to me two years ago are now some of my closest friends.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Debbie Walker. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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