As someone who lives on a farm in Wisconsin, I’m curious as to how you continue to build and maintain your social connections from such a remote location. Obviously there are social media outlets, but I find that they can only supplement the social connections made from more real, and meaningful correspondence.In your case, I’m guessing that your experience living outside the farm allowed acquired adequate social resources to allow you to move to a farm and still be connected.

Basically my question is:What is the most effective method to network when you are physically isolated from most of the people whom you would be looking to network and socialize with?

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3 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    It’s true that I lived most of my life in big cities. But what that taught me about networking is that most of the networking stuff people do in big cities you can do from a farm or any other remote location. Because what good networkers do in big cities is help each other.

    You don’t need to be in person to help someone. You need to be aware of your own skill set — what you’re good at — and you need to understand what that person needs.

    I have noticed that people at the beginning of their career offer to help by doing a small project for free. And people who are further along in their career will offer to help by making an introduction to a person or a service that can help.

    If you help someone then you have made a meaningful connection and the person remembers you.

    Also, you if you want to get to know someone you can share ideas. I remember the people who make good comments regularly on my blog. I’m sure other bloggers remember good commenters as well. That is a good path to getting to know someone with a blog.

    You can also share ideas by sending someone a link to something you think would help them that they probably have not seen. People like to be understood and cared about and that’s what you show when you send someone an idea that is helpful to them.

    The key thing about networking – both in a city and outside of cities – is quality over quantity. Early on, LinkedIn did a study that showed that your network on LinkedIn is very valuable with just 30 people in it. But those 30 people need to know you and feel that you are a connection in their life.

    So focus on one or two people who you think can help you a lot. Figure out how to get their attention and then be ready with the questions you want to ask them. Once you have someone’s attention the burden is still on you to ask good questions so that the connection becomes useful to you.

    In the end, a connection is only as good as the questions you think to ask that person.

    Penelope

  2. Cassie Boorn
    Cassie Boorn says:

    I live on a farm in the middle of nowhere and struggled with the very same thing. I found that Twitter is the absolute best way to network early in your career. (or anytime really)

    First, find people in the industry you want to network with and start tweeting at them. Don’t tweet at them that you want to be their friend or have a question or need advice because people hate that. Instead, answer questions that they ask on Twitter, re-tweet smart things they say and eventually they will probably follow you back. Once they follow you back you are getting your tweets and the smart things you say in front of them AND the ability to send them private messages if you ever have a specific question for them.

    My friend Claire (ClaireDiazOrtiz.com) suggests creating private Twitter lists of 10 people you want to network with right away. You can interact with those people and then each mother switch up your list so you are constantly growing your network.

    Lastly, meeting these people in person is the only way to close the deal. Find out what conferences or events are happening that lots of people in your industry will be at. Go to at least one of these conferences (save your money up) and connect with the people you really want to meet on Twitter before you go.

    This is how I landed a job at a NYC PR agency while living in a town of 2,000 people in Illinois.

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