I'm not an incredibly social person right now... I go through phases where I alternate between Mr. Must-Hang-Out-With-My-Friends and Mr. Contented-Being-Alone. I can feel like I need to go out and socialize with my friends, and I can also feel like I'd rather just curl up in a ball in front of my TV and enjoy time in my bathrobe.
It's interesting how I can flip between these two extremes so easily.
When it comes to the internet, I've also been doing the same thing. I can share on my own blog, but when it comes to putting comments on others I just fall flat. It's like I can be "social" online, but only to an extent. And sometimes I just don't feel like sharing at all. Other times I can't restrain myself from making a slew of posts.
The other day, I was listening to an old episode of the Art and Story podcast (#109) and in the midst of their conversation they started talking about why they hated networking so much. They echoed the sentiments that I was feeling--it felt somehow shmarmy or underhanded... I didn't feel genuine when I was networking. And I must admit, that feeling has prevented me from promoting myself and Relished Artistry a bit--there are situations I've been in when it could have been appropriate to mention my work, but I opted not to because I felt I was going to potentially sound like a shuckster.
But these guys started talking about networking as relationship building. It's not about "promoting" yourself--networking is about getting to know someone else. It takes a long time. And it's not about making a sale, it's about learning who this other person is.
That made me feel better. Looking at things from that perspective helps me feel more confident that I can shape the way I network without coming across as insincere or shallow because I simply don't have to be. I choose to present myself however I choose to. And if I want to build relationships instead of network, I can.
It takes away the pressure. It takes away the schmoozy aspect of it, and makes it a bit more... legitimate in my eyes. Somehow. I'm simply not a salesperson, and selling my self isn't any easier than selling encyclopedias door to door for me.
So as a consequence, I think I'm going to make a bigger effort to make more comments on other people's blogs. Because it's not about generating traffic to my site anymore, it's about developing a relationship. And that's easier for me to wrap my head around.
Until next time, Live Life with Relish!