Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Caving in to Social Networking and Stepping Outside the Crappy Box

Apparently Facebook has a professional and businesslike cousin named LinkedIn. But it's not just another of those social networking opportunities that makes people drool and bang away on the keyboard all hours of the night as they stalk other accounts and post things like, "Sure is cold today!"

Indeed, LinkedIn may be the missing link between staying in business and experiencing a full-tilt mid-life crisis.

But first, a confession: I hate networking. Oh, Amy, "hate" is such a strong word. I know, and that's why I chose it. I prefer for work just to land in my lap, on my screen, in my mailbox. To go out and find it can be a pain, and you fear rejection and neglect and all those things that make you feel like you're in high school all over again.

But in a crappy economy overwhelmed by technology, networking has taken on a different, albeit 24-hour, form. You have to connect and reconnect and use words like "connect" and "reconnect." Those are difficult tasks to master, when all you really want to do is write and earn a paycheck.

But this is still good news: If you hate cocktail parties and meet-and-greet sessions where you have to wear things like shoes and figure out how to balance a dessert plate and glass in one hand in order to shake someone else's hand, tools like LinkedIn may be part of the solution. That's right -- I caved. I resisted long enough and ignored too many invitations to LinkedIn to believe it's totally useless. So far, so good. No weirdos, no stalkers.

This just in from a fellow freelancer during an e-mail exchange re: social networking: "I prefer it easy too, but I'm thinking those days are over. I saw a story about all these publishing folks our age taking unpaid internships to learn new aspects of the biz. I think I'll just try to write a novel instead."

She may be on to something. Or on something. I have no desire to take on an internship. And I really don't want to learn new aspects about much of anything. I just want to do what I do. On the other hand, can a person just up and write a novel, and all is right with the world?

I'm not a novel-writing kind of girl, but maybe it's high time to step outside the box. Or go running and screaming outside the box. Or to allow the crappy economy to repossess the box so that I can add other things to my workload.

The cat is still in the bag, and he is doing his darndest to get out, but let's hope he doesn't suffocate before 2010. That's when Project No. 1 will be complete. He will love that his name is mentioned again in this space (because that's the way he is), so my friend DAVID and I are finally going to collaborate, after talking about it for some 20-odd years. I just hope we don't kill each other in the process. It would be a shame for a 25-year friendship to go up in smoke simply because he won't give in to my creative thoughts and admit that my visions are sometimes better than his. Besides, he needs me, and he knows it. I'm a much better speller.

So, that's Project No. 1. There it is. I'm committed.

Project No. 2? It's on the backburner, simmering away. I hope it doesn't boil over and cause a big distracting mess.

Updates to come via LinkedIn. Because that's what networkers do.