Networking–Real or Fake? #atozchallenge #networking

 

One of the best things about the A to Z blogging challenge is all the networking that takes place–the visiting of other blogs, the comments, the new thoughts being exchanged.

In my experience with blogging, there are two kinds of networking: Fake and Real. Superficial or Genuine.

Superficial Networking: This is where we stop by other people’s sites, purely in the hopes that they’ll come visit us back. We skim their content and leave a comment that is all about coming back to our site and visiting us. In this kind of networking, the goal isn’t necessarily to connect with another person, to learn from them and to start a friendship. It’s mostly to up the traffic on our own page, to get more book sales, more followers, etc.

And it’s usually the one that gives networking a bad reputation. People see it as fake, as plastering a PR face on and faking interest in other people’s work as a means of introducing our own.

Genuine Networking: This is the one that makes the greatest impact. Instead of being just another number, those engaged in real networking actually consider themselves as dealing with another person–who has hopes and dreams and ambitions and struggles just like they do. With this in mind, you can visit blogs and look for something nice you can say about their work, with no reference to your own unless it pertains to what they’re writing about.

This can lead to real friendships, and this makes the Internet a far less lonely place. Suddenly, real people are out there, reading and liking your post–not because they want to sell you something, but because they care.

magical network by gagilas http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

As I see it, genuine, heart-felt networking is the only kind worth having, because people who are just interested in you as another number to add to their follower list aren’t really interested at all. But this is a fine line, because we are all usually entrepreneurs of some kind, trying to get our product (be it artwork, novels, or music) out to an audience that is hard to reach without a little salespersonship on our part.

So while we genuinely care, we sometimes can’t help but think, in the back of our minds, “This person seems like they’d really like my work,” or “Maybe they’d be interested, if they knew about my project.” And then, there can be a hesitancy on our parts to mention our work, because we don’t want to seem pushy, as though our friendship was really just a platform for sales.

What do you think? How do you interact with other blogs and bloggers? How do you handle the fine line between advertising and networking?

Copyright 2016 Andrea Lundgren

Photo by gagilas, Creative Commons

22 thoughts on “Networking–Real or Fake? #atozchallenge #networking

  1. There is a certain amount of superficial networking going on, during the challenge, and otherwise. People are trying to sell a product. It’s one way to try to get people to notice you. You’re right, though, that genuine interest is much more satisfying. I have connected with many great bloggers through the years. I’ve even met a few in person. It’s so worth it to find people who are like you and you enjoy each others creative work.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I’m sure the challenge isn’t free from shallow networking (though I feel I’ve been most fortunate to have many people who really seem to engage and read what I write). And sometimes, people are just desperate for attention and don’t know how to go about getting it. Hopefully, my post will encourage them that there’s a better way. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  2. I agree with every word you wrote. Fake networking turns me off in a hurry. Superficial visits, bloggers who only show up when they need something, responding six months later because they were so busy … as if we’re not all busy, and never returning favors they promised while begging for favors. I stay away from such people in real life and in the blogosphere. On the other hand, I have made some wonderful friendships on here…and will always cherish such real friends.
    Thanks for giving me a chance to rant. 🙂
    Great post and a wonderful blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not much on advertising. I’m just not good at it, particularly when it comes to things I’ve written or created, myself. I feel like a kid running up to random people and saying “Hey, look at this!”
    I do better with getting to know people over time, and just talking. And I think that works well for everybody involved; if people are having fun, other people just want to join them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is probably why people like reviews and other, third-party means of “advertising.” That way, it isn’t the author saying “Look at this!” but it’s another person sharing how much they enjoyed something.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I pretty much approach blogs/bloggers the way I would people in every day life. If I am interested and entertained, I will be back whether they stop by my place or not. It is so much fun when connections do develop!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have a good point. Networking naturally reflects real life, and sometimes, there will be personalities or interests that just won’t click (but it’s great when it does happen).
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  5. You are right that the line is fine between marketing and networking for friendship’s sake.

    My blog features photos of my published work but I don’t post articles that cry “buy my book” or “friend me”. I talk about stuff that interests me and put it out for people to read if it is something that interests them.

    Some blogs are created strictly for marketing purposes and that’s fine as long as the blogger is open about the intent. I visit blogs to be entertained or to learn something new or to read an opinion on a topic that interests me (pro or con is fine.)

    Gail’s 2016 April A to Z Challenge
    Theme: The Fun in Writing #217

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I visit blogs to be entertained or to learn something new or read an opinion…” This is a great point. Readers don’t stop by just to stroke our ego and inflate our stats, but because they’re interested. And advertising isn’t usually that interesting (given how we all tend to skip commercials).

      But there are times when we need to help make people aware of something we offer (in a subtle, non-pushy way), because it might be just what they need or would like, but they aren’t aware it’s out there.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Like

  6. I can think of several bloggers I’ve quit visiting (or at least leaving comments for) because they never returned visits. I understand not necessarily returning every single person’s visit, but when someone has been regularly visiting your blog for months, or even several years, it seems kind of rude to never return the favor. It seems those people are only interested in interacting with their established blogging buddies. Even if your blogs have much different topics (e.g., vintage fashion and guinea pigs), you could at least do an occasional courtesy visit if that other person has been visiting you for a long time and leaving thoughtful comments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ouch! Months or a year and no visits back…that would be rough! I think one can always find something to say to another blogger, on one of their posts. Every post may not elicit a comment, especially if they don’t share your interests, but they should be able to find something nice to say. Even if it’s just a “like” or a short “This picture was really neat.” It’s the Internet version of a calling card, to say we stopped by. Otherwise, staying away would be a form of snubbing, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s tricky, especially if their topics don’t hold any interest for you, but I always try to take a thorough tour of any “new to me” blog, and try to find at least 1-2 places where I can honestly like & comment.

      Like

  7. How interesting it is that I was directed by a writer to check out this blog and this is the first post I stumble upon? I can attest to the importance of having those genuine networking relationships, as they are the kinds of bonds that endure and provide longevity throughout a career rather than a short-term spike that fades away. I look forward to reading more posts and following along on this blog!

    Like

    1. Oh, that’s a neat story. Networking leads to…a post on networking. 🙂 The genuine relationships mean so much more than just another number, that it’s really worth pursuing them.
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

      Like

  8. I agree. I try to regard networking as just another way of having an interesting conversation. I certainly hope that it may turn into actual networking, but it’s so easy for networking to turn into pandering, if you’re not careful.
    I think a very important distinction is to not post links to my own content on someone else’s site.
    First and foremost I think it’s important to handle comments and online correspondence the same way we treat a conversation that we might have at work or at a public social function.
    If what I say has merit then others may be curious about what else I have to say. My content is something I’m freely giving away, and like any gift, the recipient has the right to accept or refuse.

    Like

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