I didn’t build a network to look at

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A friend and mentor recently said those exact words, which are rather profound.

With social media, it is easier than ever before to connect with colleagues and friends across states and countries. However, if you aren’t leveraging these contacts for yourself and for the good of the network, then what’s the point?

Networks should a relationship built on give and take. You should be sharing ideas, having conversations and adding value. Don’t just tap the network when you need something.

The Berkley Alumni site has great tips on networking basics, including this gem: Honor the networking code.

“Another way to say this is ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ If you want to have your phone calls returned, return phone calls. If you want help with your career, you must be willing to help others.”

Advancing everyone in the network is the point, be it a new career, industry insights or just advice. Networks should make everyone better.

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Pay it Forward

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I recently had the opportunity to talk with Erin Serkaian, who works at another non-profit about how my organization uses social media. The conversation was wonderful and very beneficial for both of us!

Back when I started dabbling in social media, lots of friends, colleagues and strangers offered their advice and best tips and general practices. Some of these conversations happened on Twitter and others happened in person. I would not have the knowledge base I have today or the confidence in my ability to do my job if it weren’t for these mentors. Thank you, again.

When I saw Erin’s request on Twitter for ways non-profits use Facebook and other social media platforms, I knew it was my opportunity to give back. I sent a message and in a short time, we arranged to have a phone conversation.

While I know Erin got lots of ideas, practical tips and encouragement to take her non-profit’s social media to the next level, what she doesn’t know is that I got just as much out of the conversation. It reminded me of why I love my job and reminded me of the things I wanted to try and haven’t had a chance.

I hope Erin will be able to learn from our successes and failures and set realistic goals for what she and her organization want to accomplish. I’m excited to see what she comes up with!

If you’re ever given the opportunity to pay it forward, do it. You won’t regret it.