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April 2014
Issue: April 1, 2009

SOCIAL NETWORKING AND OUR INDUSTRY

By: Randi Altman
Facebook isn’t just for catching up with friends you haven’t seen since elementary school, it’s also a good place to start networking with people from the industry — those you’ve met and those you hope to meet. Then there is Twitter, Linked In, Plaxo, MySpace, etc.

When I joined Facebook, it began as a work-related endeavor, trying to keep up with people I know from the industry who live all over the world — instead of just seeing them at trade shows, there they were, everyday. I was merrily rolling along with that until slowly my friend’s list started to balloon with kids from the old neighborhood, and suddenly my kindergarten class picture was being uploaded to my page, and my Facebook experience took on a very different feel.

How do I come off as professional when school friends are putting up pictures I never thought I’d see again? I know I am not the only one who is trying to walk the line and asking: “Is this social networking or networking networking?”

Da Vinci’s Bob Caniglia has put his foot in the sand. “Facebook is more of a friend thing for me. I do have some professional links but they are with people that I interact with socially too. There are better business-only sites, such as Linked In.”

Tor Johansen, Post reviewer/broadcast manager at Glendale, CA’s GTV 6, has embraced it professionally. “Facebook has been a great vehicle for me to develop my industry contacts. Many people are quicker to accept your Friend request and then give out their personal contact info. Facebook also serves as a free Webhost for your demo reel, and/or photography portfolio. It certainly isn’t a one-stop shop for all your marketing and promotion needs, but it’s also one you just can’t ignore.”

Shooter/HD pioneer Randall Dark is one of my Facebook friends. He often updates us on where he is shooting next, what he is shooting next and on what format. Randall seems to really get the purpose of Facebook and other social networking sites. “The plethora of social networking sites allows me to be only one degree of separation from virtually anyone in the world that has joined the 21st Century of the social network communication,” he says. “It allows what I call ‘aggressive passive marketing.’”

James Knight from Giant Studios says, “I've always thought business is first and foremost social, and nowadays anyone you meet is online. Whereas forging or maintaining professional relationships used to require picking up the phone or sending what could be seen as just another impersonal email, social networking makes keeping in contact with industry pros more casual and less sales-like.”

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