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Is it appropriate to network online?

I want to work in the field of journalism and the coolest thing about this industry is that it's already accessible to me. It's so easy to find writers that I admire and follow them on social media. Often I have questions about the websites they write for or I'm just interested in things they write about. I know that making connections is key in this field, so my question would be is it okay to take advantage of how close I am to writers because of technology? Is networking or asking questions online a smart move or is it just annoying?
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Laura’s Answer

I think any professional with an online presence expects for others to inquire about their work and engage! You wouldn't want to pester or get upset if you don't get an immediate response, but making connections online is a great way to network! Facebook and Twitter are good, and LinkedIn is a great place for professional networking. If there are industry events you could attend, that's a nice way to meet an online contact in person and put a face to a name, to strengthen the relationship. (Sometimes those don't happen where you live, or can be expensive to attend--but you could look into events for a journalist-related organization.)

Bottom line, I don't think it hurts at all to be proactive and reach out to those whose work you admire or who might be able to answer questions for you. Many people love that! As long as you're respectful and do your best to communicate clearly, you could make some great connections that last a lifetime that way! Good luck.

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Meredith’s Answer

Absolutely! When reaching out to connect with someone, be sure to mention why you think the connection would be beneficial. The best professional connections are ones that are mutually beneficial to you both. You're a lot more likely to have your connection accepted when you add some context around what you're hoping out of the relationship.

I found that Twitter chats are a great way to network via social media around a specific topic. You can google "Twitter chat" and whatever your career field or area of interest is and fin a ton of opportunities to participate in guided chats over Twitter.

Happy networking!

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Susan E.’s Answer

There's nothing wrong with networking online. I do that a lot for various things, especially if you can't find a local network of people to interact with. In fact, you can find loads of groups on Facebook and other places for your interests to chat....even here because this is a kind of networking to get answers to your questions. Just make sure you don't get Catfished.

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David’s Answer

Ieah H. (or should it be Leah H.), whatever! The machine rendering of this particular type is ambiguous. I'll go with Ieah H., thank you! Well, enough polite concerns, here's the deal. Ieah asks the question (paraphrasing): "Is it okay to network with mainstream writers, asks them appropriate questions, and query them about relevant issues, in the sense of not being annoying?"

Well, again, an excellent question, posed by one of our prospective young writers, concerned with others' feelings and mostly, their availability to respond positively to upcoming writers' queries, without bothering them. My professional advice, for all it's worth, is "Don't be afraid to approach them and ask for advice, especially about subjects they are directly involved with. Gee wiz, Ieah! What's the worst that can happen? They may ignore you, lock you out of the net, maybe even tell to cut it out; but they cannot hurt you: "For stick and stones can break my bones, but words can't ever hurt you (most of the time)."

I never used to network, until one day I realized that I was so isolated and alone. Nothing seemed right to me, being locked away inside a guest bedroom, at my Mom's condo retirement complex. I kept on studying, most heavily, after graduation from my MFA program in film production; but "shoot me dead and burn my corpse" (excuse my colloquially violent figure of speech), if you wish, for I remained convinced that I had not learned enough in graduate school, so I kept hitting the classics, including the modern and postmodern subjects. Finally, I realized that I was not in tune with the hip-ness of networking. Now, I network like mad, even crazily, sometimes. Yeah, it seems to work, for I have people calling me up, and emailing too, in reference to ideas about making movies, like one about the first African-American Fighter Pilot, whose name is Eugene Jacques Bullard. A well written original script would be nice here, at this time of my life, when I need to make another movie; this time, maybe, a feature length docudrama, else a straight doc.

Anyway, that's beside the point here, it is Ieah's day at the races, and she deserves a break at being let in, by those professional writers, especially the ones who love to take about "writing," to as many networking avenues as possible. Please be kind to Ieah, as she networks with you! Best wishes to you, Ieah, and good luck on the Net!!

P.S. Leah is a female given name which is likely derived from the Hebrew word ???(cannot type the Hebrew script for "Ie'ah," meaning "weary." Just a tidbit of info for you'll! Bye, bye.