I hate networking with a passion. Or, well, I used to. I always felt horribly pressurised at networking events; all these interesting people talking to each other while I stood on the sideline feeling I had nothing to say and didn’t want to embarrass myself. And I do use online networks, but not in a professional capacity.
Twitter: I tweet a lot on my personal account but much less so on my official/professional account.
Facebook: Facebook is creeping me out more and more. I still have it, mostly to keep in touch with friends and colleagues in Germany, but I’m seriously considering getting rid of my account because it creeps me out. Google+ even more so. I mean, I don’t have a lot of privacy concerns to start with, but Facebook will change the T&Cs without notifying their users, Google+ so far looks like it’s a privacy accident waiting to happen, even to me.
LinkedIn: This should probably go under “personal branding”—one of my tasks this week is to overhaul my CV and put it on LinkedIn. That said, I don’t really talk to people on there. But it’s useful if employers are on there, and if you want to get recommendations from them. My current employer isn’t, but I’ve added a couple of people that I’ve met on visits/networking events.
I’m not really active on CILIP Communities or any of the other LIS-specific networks. I’m registered on LISNPN, which seems the most relevant network for my current situation, but again, I haven’t really been active much. So it’s probably again a case of “I need to talk more”.
Offline networking is something that I used to dread, like I said. However, I did go to the CILIP London CPD23 meetup and I really enjoyed it. Mostly because I took the advice from Joeyanne’s invaluable post on networking for people who hate networking to heart. I had two or three long and interesting conversations with people (hello Emma!) and I felt like I’d actually made an impression and a connection, something that doesn’t usually happen. So for me personally, that event was a big success. As for other offline networks, I’m in a bit of an awkward place geographically—the East of England has no library schools and the CDG is mostly based in Cambridge, which is a four-hour round trip on British Rail for me. I’ll try and go to a LIKE meeting some time, as they sound quite interesting.