Recently a woman approached me at an event and we had a long chat.
She asked me some questions about a project I was working on. She relayed a story in which she and a group of her friends were all laughing about something I had said on Twitter. She filled me in on how her job search was going. Then she gave me a hug and left.
It was an interesting encounter – mostly because I had never met this woman before.
So how did we end up having a 15-minute heart to heart?
Well first, I made a decision a year or so ago to conduct my professional life in a bubble and I extended an open invitation for anyone to pop by and watch or eavesdrop.
Somewhere along the line, this particular woman took me up on my offer. And something I said or did vetted me and indicated to this woman that I was someone she should definitely meet.
A NEW WAY OF NETWORKING
Networking hasn’t always been this easy for me. In fact, when I started my business nearly 10 years ago, I had to work damn hard to make contacts and build relationships of any sort.
Then social media came along and the whole playing field changed.
- More recognized. Pictures of me, attached to things I have said, are floating all around the Internet. I happen to talk quite a lot, so this means that the reach and spread of this information is large.
- More social. People who meet me already have an ambient awareness of what I do, whom I know and what I’m passionate about. That means I spend less time mired in small talk and more time engaged meaty conversations.
- More connected. I invest a lot of energy in communicating with others online. As a result my network has slowly but surely continued to grow and evolve.
But you know what social media had not made me?
“FAME” AND “RECOGNITION” ARE MERELY DISTANT COUSINS
There is a great chasm that exists between “famous” and “less invisible,” and I am not so naïve as to believe that social media has given me the tools to suddenly bridge it.
Just because someone…
- knows who I’m talking to and what I’m working on,
- has conversations about me with other people whom I also don’t know,
- asks to become my “friend” or to “follow” my adventures,
- becomes a “fan” of my work or indicates that they “like” my witty quip,
…does not make me famous.
It just makes me an effective participant in the social media space.
I talk a lot, so more people are hearing me.
I reach out, so more people are encountering me.
I share what I’m thinking, so more people are feeling like they know me.
That’s not an indication fame, just strategy and implementation working in calculated harmony.
MASTER OF THE MICROCOSM
Yes, it’s flattering to have complete strangers suddenly know who I am. However…
- The guy scanning my stuff at Target? He’ll never read my blog.
- The woman who cleaned my teeth? She’s not on Twitter.
- My mother-in-law? She STILL doesn’t understand what the hell it is that I do.
This social media world is not really “the world.” It’s just a microcosm of people who are continually opting in and out of the “Jen Kane Diaries.”
So no, I’m not famous. And the cold hard reality is that most “social media celebrities” aren’t really either. (And yes, this post is for you, folks.)
What I am is prolific and transparent.
And, as we’ve learned from reality TV, if you go out of your way to make a flurry of public statements that are remotely salacious, scandalous, riotous or snarky, you will get noticed.
That doesn’t make you the next Dorothy Parker.
It just makes you slightly less boring than most other people.
And for now, “slightly less boring” suits me just fine.