Digital Networking? Sure!
Not all networking takes place in person. While the best way to meet new people is always in real life, there’s still a great deal you can do with your digital presence to expand and develop your professional network.
Thousands of other creators are trying to make it, just like you, and they’re using the same platform to do it. This means that, to a certain extent, all of those things that make networking so important, having other creators to talk to about the craft, to lean on for emotional support, for advice, to look to as examples, they’re all right at your fingertips. You can use your stream, your audience, to engage with other creators.
Spend a good amount of time watching other users on your platform. The reasons for this go beyond networking; consistently consuming content is absolutely essential to improving your own. Writers spend a lot of time reading. Filmmakers watch movies. They do this because, even if it’s unconsciously, it fills their workshop with tools to better create their own work. Every piece of content gives them some new insight, some new skill. Streaming and content creation are no different. This is just one of the ways you get better.
Beyond that, though, spending time on the platform is how you discover other creators like you, people you admire, and reach out to them. Follow or subscribe. Engage in their chat. Experience their community. On Twitch, hosting the streams of similarly sized channels is a great way to provide a little additional support as you introduce yourself, or to continue to support creators with whom you’re already friendly. This won’t get you very far with larger channels, as they’re hosted all the time, but finding similarly sized creators is a great way to get yourself noticed by a creator you admire, and their audience.
Raids are another great way to encourage conversation between yourself and another channel while also giving a friendly boost to their channel’s numbers. Raiding involves instructing your audience to flood into the stream of another creator at the conclusion of your content, often with additional instructions to say a certain phrase, follow, subscribe, or something similar. As a creator, you know how exciting it can be when you receive an influx of new viewers, that concurrent number rising and rising. It just makes you feel good. Giving that to another creator is, to begin, just a cool, nice thing, but it’s also one of the ways channels engage with each other, building out that relationship. Identifying channels, like your own, that you like, that you want to get more involved with, is just as important online as it is in person, and the steps necessary are so simple, and fun, it’s silly to pass on these opportunities.
Connecting Before Live Events
Finally, we discussed live events in a previous lesson, focusing on conventions and meetup groups, and it’s important to recognize that these also present digital networking opportunities in the days and weeks prior. As these gatherings draw near, the buzz will build across digital platforms. Places like Reddit, Facebook, NeoGaf, and other online forums begin to fill with discussions about the details of the upcoming event, and it’s important to keep your ear to this particular grind stone. Attendees will work out shared lodging arrangements, introducing themselves to each other and bunking up to save cash. They’ll talk about after-hours events, parties, meet-and-greets, and all the other prime networking events. They’ll arrange their own smaller gatherings, cosplay meetups, LARPing events, so many things that it’s impossible to list even a fraction. Knowing what’s happening ahead of time is valuable, but connecting with the people who are going to be there is pivotal. Before you even arrive, you’ll have already begun to develop a new network of compatriots. You’ll get a lot more out of the event itself once you’re there, but you’ll also develop relationships online, which can be just as important.
A lot of the focus, when it comes to networking, is on the in-person interactions, as well it should. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get a lot done from a keyboard. Keep it in your mind, and you’ll find it’s easy to do the work.