Whether you’re a networking queen or, like me, the word “networking” makes you recoil in your seat, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we network for the foreseeable future. While we probably won’t be meeting groups of new people face-to-face anytime soon, the Internet is here to help save our socializing life and habits. Whether you’re more inclined to partake in chat discussions or video meetings, there’s something out there for everyone. Here are a few ways to tackle your networking needs while staying home and social distancing.
This is probably the most obvious one, but social networking is one of the easiest ways to connect with people with similar interests or goals as you, without ever getting out of bed. The possibilities are truly endless on social media. You can be as proactive as starting your own Instagram account or Facebook page about your interest. Using specific hashtags on your posts and searching for other posts under those hashtags will lead you to others who share your same interests and are probably also looking to network. If you want to take a less proactive approach, it can be as simple as following accounts based on your interests and popping into the comment section. I’ve made friends and gained a few followers just by leaving a comment or two on a post that I had an opinion on. I’ve found sources for stories just by looking around on social media. Most of the time the kind of people you’re looking to network with are also looking for you.
We can’t attend concerts or workshops anymore, but attending online events usually means there will be opportunities to network at some point, in some way. Eventbrite, a website that used to sell tickets to a myriad of live events, now sells tickets to virtual events and also has an entire section for free virtual events. Meetup, a site specifically for meeting new people with similar interests in-person, has adjusted to pandemic life by switching to online-only events. There are even online support groups for people looking to connect to others therapeutically, like online AA meetings or anxiety support groups. A simple Google search for the kind of support you seek will lead you in the right direction.
Websites that allow for group chatting and networking, like Reddit or LinkedIn, are a great option if the thought of video chatting makes you nervous. Reddit has a topic thread for just about anything you could possible think of, whether it be a casual hobby, a T.V. show, or professionals looking to chat, exchange advice, or even post links to job opportunities. LinkedIn is more for professional networking and has a wide array of groups you can join that focus on your chosen profession. Slack has gained popularity as more companies have had to switch to a work-from-home operation. It allows for easy communication between you and your co-workers, but it also allows you to branch out and e-meet new people. Slack has online chat groups that allow many people to chat with each other on their common interests and topics, similar to the old days of AIM chat rooms. Some groups are public, open to all, and some are private and will require you to be invited into the group.
Whatever your socializing style is, I promise you there’s something out there for you. Whether you’re looking to video chat about professional advice, find support for your new IG page, or partake in online group activities, there are already people out there creating spaces for that to happen.