I’ve been in a frenzy of reconnecting with people, due to two events: first, I changed my corporate domain, and hence my email address, and secondly, a friend introduced me to LinkedIn.
The first is a bigger boon that you might realize, in spite of the work involved. I needed a bit of a corporate rebranding, even though I am just a one-person consultancy, so renamed the company, grabbed the associated domain name, and finally mounted a real corporate website. I host the website and email on Yahoo!, which I love because they have the world’s best webmail and the web hosting is really easy to use for beginners (I recommended it to Damir and didn’t have to help him, much) but still allows for ftp and other more sophisticated things if I ever get around to implementing some of them. I even host my business blog on there under a subdomain, generated by Blogger. With the name change, email change and new website, I now had an excuse to email everyone in my address book with the updates, which is what passes for networking for me. You see, I’m a bit introverted (although some will disagree, especially after I’ve had a few drinks) and, being female, don’t really do the old-boy, hand-shaking, back-slapping type of networking. I whipped out my free version of Group Mail, which I use for mailings to the membership of my wine-tasting club, and set it up so that I could send individual emails to everyone rather than the usual everyone-on-the-To:-line nonsense that most people do. I did that last night (Friday, yes, I have no life because Damir is at his own place with a head cold, and I was recovering from a slight overindulgence on St. Paddy’s Day), and the replies started to trickle in. More came in today, and I’m expecting a deluge on Monday and Tuesday. You see, a simple change of email address is all the prompting that’s required for most people to send you a “how the hell are you” message back, and just like that, you’re reconnected. Some of them even visited the new corporate site, read the blog and commented favourably on it, which is pretty amazing because there is only one entry in it.
The second networking event was LinkedIn, which is a very cool professional networking site. I was invited to it by a personal friend (who I also worked with in the past), and since then I have found several people that I know already signed up for the site, and have invited them to join my network. Because I can see my connection’s connections, I saw a friend’s lawyer listed on her connections list, and have made a connection with him so that I have someone to review contracts for me. On another friend’s connections list I found a VP at a company at which Damir is interested in working, so I made that connection. On a whim, I looked up an ex-boyfriend and found that I was connected to him by four degrees of separation through three different people on my connections list, and none of these people know each other! When I imported a bunch of my address book contacts, it told me which ones were already signed up (by matching their email addresses). The more that I look at it, the cooler it gets. It’s just in beta now, and has some weird freezing behaviour sometimes; also, who knows what will happen when it goes to full commercial production: if they start charging for it, I suspect that most people will drop off.
I also was introduced (by one of the people who I reconnected with) to re:invention, a blog purportedly for women entrepreneurs, but probably of use to many entrepreneurs and small business owners. There was an especially good post today, Tips for 10 Million Women by Elisa Camahort of Worker Bees, which points out that technology-based networking is especially good for women — something that I think I just figured out on my own!