Making connections. Making a difference.

It’s been great to connect with web industry people again AND have opportunities to contribute to some exciting projects, thanks to social media. Part time working mums – like me – don’t always get to attend special industry shindigs (like we did back in ’96.) But we can engage in the online conversation without having to call the babysitter! Here’s a few examples of how social media has made a difference to me.

1. The meeting of minds. Over the last year I have met up with some great folks through Twitter including Stephen Collins, Matt Moore, Brad Kasell, Michael Specht and Shane Goldberg (note to self..must meet with some great women Tweeple too!). I don’t spend all my time on Twitter, I don’t read every Tweet and some days I don’t read it at all. I use it sometimes at whim, sometimes strategically by dipping in on the web, my iPod or phone. But somehow through this seemingly odd interaction of shared status updates – and in some cases through blogging, we were able to have relaxed, conversation rich meetings when we met up in person. We have also been able to help each other to make sense of emerging technology trends.

2. Personal development. I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciate my mentors. Although none of them live in Australia, we know each other well through our blogs (also behind the firewall) and through other networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc. We use social media to communicate and they have all given me some great opportunities to develop my skills. I doubt I would ever have made the connection with them if it wasn’t for blogging.

3. Opportunities to make a difference. Blogging here on Wonderwebby has also helped me develop confidence in writing and practice my writing style. It meant that when Gavin Heaton (another person I follow on Twitter) announced the new Age of Conversation collaborative book on his blog, I didn’t hesitate in raising my hand to contribute. The best part – all the proceeds to go the Variety Childrens’ Charity.

The Age of Conversation 2 book cover

The Age of Conversation 2 book cover

Those three things are important to me at work – connecting, developing and contributing. How has social media helped you in your career?

17 thoughts on “Making connections. Making a difference.

  1. wonderwebby

    Hehe Dale. There are Tweeters and Plurkers. Cool kids or not, I definitely ain’t no Plurker. At least not in it’s current fiddly state. As I was saying…part time working mum… ;)

  2. mcg

    Social networking? Well it got me a job when I was moving to a new city. Never met ES in person; he only knew me through an user group email list. When I put out a plea for employment on this list, he emailed me right away.

  3. Luis Benitez

    Hi Jasmin,

    This is great. I may have to use this as I continue to evangelize social software to my customers. I’ve found that by sharing my success stories, is how I really get people to see the value of social software.

    For me, it has changed my career completely. I used to be a non-sharing person, believing that if I held to my knowledge very closely, I could ensure myself job security. I quickly became an expert in eLearning.

    I found, however, that I couldn’t help on all projects, and some even failed because they didn’t have access to me (e.g. I was already billable at another customer). This really frustrated me. I wanted to find a way to make the company and its eLearning proudct successful.

    Although I’d been blogging externally for a while, I didn’t see the value it would have inside the firewall. Nevertheless, I decided to take the plunge and wow! Almost instantly, I was getting known by a larger audience inside my company. More and more people knew that I existed and knew where to find my knowledge! And as a side benefit, my email traffic started to decrease! :)

    Now, more than ever, I have executive visibility throughout my organization and recently got a promotion which I’ll attribute to social networking!

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  5. Aaron

    Jasmin, this may sound like an AA testimonial, but the best thing I’ve got from social networking is re-discovering a long-lost sense of belonging to IBM. I’m in Services, and used to spend 99% of my working time at client offices. In a given stretch, I was assigned to the same client for 5 years (different projects). At the end of that period, I felt more like a client employee than an IBMer. Once I started blogging internally, I felt that I had just moved to a virtual IBM office. I’m still working at client locations, but I’m also having smalltalk and serious conversations with IBMers like the old water-cooler days. There’s some trade-offs: I still miss the face-to-face interactions – I actually have no idea how you look or sound like, for example – but on the other side, there’s no geography- or time-related barriers.

  6. Aaron

    Forgot to mention: I’m much more active internally than externally with all this social networking thing. I like the fact you seem to keep a nice balance between the two sides of the firewall.

  7. wonderwebby

    Luis and Aaron – blogging has definitely helped for the reasons you mention. When I am on a project with a client or working from home, it certainly helps me to feel connected to IBM. Aaron I wish I blogged more behind the firewall! I don’t manage to get there quite enough.

    Serena, nice post. Glad you found inspiration.

  8. Keith De La Rue

    Jasmin –

    Great post! I just happened to pick it up at the same time as reading Serena’s post (which I picked up via Twitter). All this as I was preparing for a workshop on Enterprise 2.0 I am presenting in Sydney this Friday for Key Forums. I am taking the liberty of referring to your post – hope you don’t mind.

    – Keith.

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  10. Silvia Mihailescu

    Great post Jasmin,

    I am currently working on a video for the BlueIQ initiative showing how I connect at work and “travel the whole world” in one day.Will add you to the distribution list once I’ll upload it to cattail ;-)

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