Networking is weird

Modern professional and social networking is weird, and the internet makes it as difficult as it is easy.

The way that I interact with people changes based on my goal (and theirs, if I happen to learn it beforehand) so I often end up bouncing back and forth between introverted and extroverted social and professional habits.

My current work has taught me a lot about professionalism and networking, and the lessons I’ve learned there don’t always seem to sync up well with networking on social media. On the business professional side you have the mutual understanding that you aren’t trying to become best friends and are simply looking to work together for your common goals or interests. The other side, social media based networking, often is associated with trying to meet with people that have similar interests and hobbies and maybe become friends. At least, that’s my perception of the difference between professional networking and social media networking. The problem I run into now, though, is that social media networking and professional networking have meshed together through the Internet because that’s where the people are and businesses know that fact.

Half of the problem with them being so meshed together is that everyone is now in your business, whether you like it or not. This means both professional networking and social media networking play an important role in growth as a streamer.

One of the pieces of advice I’ve heard to grow as a streamer is you need to do at least some networking. You have to put yourself out there and talk to people “behind the scenes” of your stream. You have to make, and sometimes break, those connections to get the things you need to grow. Whether it’s sponsors or other streamers to help get your content some visibility. For myself this leads to an internal struggle between fear of the negative impact of mass perception and doing what I need to do to chase a dream.

“He’s just trying to be a leech.”

If that sentence sounds familiar, you’ve most likely read it, or something worded very similar, being used to describe a streamer on social media that’s trying to interact with a another streamer.

The other half of the problem with professional networking being meshed together with social media networking is that one is, essentially, a modern way to make friends. People often forget that fact when they start trying to network for a goal. My internal struggle is that I still see it as a way to interact with and make new friends, all while trying to make those important connections to grow my stream. And it blows. Majorly.

I’m afraid of wording something the wrong way and upsetting (and possibly losing) a friend, or being seen as a sellout by trying to get in the good graces of someone else because I want something that they have to offer as a resource for growth. I’ve mentioned it before, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Chances have to be taken. I only hope that if someone somehow feels like I’ve wronged them along the way that they forgive me for not wanting to miss an opportunity.

Let’s chase a dream and keep on moving forward.