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.
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