Friday, July 17, 2009

The Net works for networking - a Gross web

The internet is all you need to start up virtual relationships that lead to actual progress in research.

Personally, I can't orally put a coherent sentence together when I'm face to face with people. I go off on tangents with every expressed thought. I am easily distracted by my own words, and all the things going on around me when I'm talking.

But I can put a string of sentences together that make a little more sense when I'm writing. So the internet is perfect for people like me. It's also more efficient when it comes to weeding things out.

Forums are a great resource.

One very good place I find "experts" for my research is the messages boards on the History Channel. Both USA & UK fans come to the site to ask questions & spew knowledge. Sometimes, you get a gem from that.

This is how I met several people who have catapulted me to the next level with my research and my writing. Through a pirate forum, I found out about a book I had somehow failed to find sooner. It was not yet on google books, so it hadn't popped up on my radar earlier. I was able to also find the author's website & start corresponding directly with him to exchange valuable information.

Through a similar forum I found the author of one of the books that has been very helpful in my research. I contacted this author, and now we are negotiating to hopefully someday collaborate on a biography in the future.

Same thing happened on another forum where a published author contacted me after we both posted some corrections, and now we are sharing rare historical evidence with each other to collaborate on my first biography! Pooling our accumulated research & knowledge, we plan to solve a 300-year-old mystery!

The internet can lead to some real-life face time, too. is awesome. I live by it. Really. Spiritually, physically, intellectually, personally, professionally - it has introduced me to many new actual relationships. Borne out of the 911 tragedy in 2001, connects people by providing a virtual starting point to get people face to face in real life. While researching in London, I was able to meetup & play volleyball in my very limited time there.

After a couple years of benefitting from attending many meetups, I decided to start my own meetup for screenwriters. We meet every other Saturday to read and critique and discuss our scripts & the biz. I've met some fantastic people this way. Some of those people have pointed me to resources I'd missed on my own. Through these resources, I've already had face time with several Hollywood producers and executives!

Networking can put you on to new information. It can open new doors of opportunity. It may help you find someone to mentor, or someone to mentor you, or someone to collaborate with. The possibilities are endless. It may even find you a financial supporter.

If nothing else, networking keeps you thinking & talking about your projects. It keeps your enthusiasm level high enough to keep the project buoyant. How many really cool projects have sunk into the forgotten ocean of death just because you lost your passion? Networking keeps them afloat.

Intelligence, sincerity, authenticity. These are some of the qualities you need to develop for successful networking. A degree of diplomacy will take you very far. Don't push. Don't back down. Balance it out.

I'm still learning the art, but I've already learned the benefits.

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