Like it or not, you probably will…online.
For several months now, I’ve been thinking about different ways to blog about social networking strategies and their potential effects on our businesses. Catch phrases like ‘best practices’, ‘netiquette’, ‘metrics’, and other such language always came to mind, but for some reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to write about such topics. They seemed a bit obvious…and certainly lacking in soul. I felt, instead, that I needed to write about my own personal experiences with social networking — the good and the bad…the successes and the failures — and share them with others. The problem was that I hadn’t quite found that spark of inspiration to get the ball rolling…until last week.
One of the things I do to connect with the voiceover community is participate in online forums that discuss voice acting, talent agencies, networking, advantages/disadvantages of unions, pricing, you name it…anything really — as long as it relates to VO. It’s just one of several social networking activities in which I participate (you’re reading another example of my ‘social participation’ right now!) Often these discussions are lively and full of strong-willed individuals eager to offer their opinions, and usually, equally eager to offer their help. Sadly, however, this is not always the case. Last week, I witnessed a near meltdown of an entire discussion (with responses numbering well into three-figures) all because a handful of individuals, hell-bent on perpetuating the negative, decided to launch a full scale attack on the rest of us hopefuls. At least one of these individuals is a fairly well-known voice actor.
Here’s the deal: all those harsh, negative comments? They’ll likely exist online for all eternity — forever pointing back to their respective owners, illuminating the nature of their characters. And even if the posts are deleted, the damage is still done, because everyone involved in the discussion (numbering in the hundreds) will remember how rudely they were treated…not to mention the likelihood of those individuals harmed in the discussion propagating their bad experiences to all their contacts. Within seconds, thousands of people — maybe more — are instantly informed. In this new digital world where we’re all much closer together than ever before, ‘acting up’ or ‘lashing out’ is simply not in our best interests: discoverable evidence will forever remain for the rest of the world to see.
Okay! Let’s talk positivity! I really do believe that we get back what we put into our relationships — even those that exist purely online. In the words of my mentor Don LaFontaine who, when I asked what I could do to somehow repay him for his unbelievable generosity (he gave me a custom voiceover as a wedding gift — and that was just the beginning of what turned out to be a three-year relationship that flourished up until the day he died) said, “Go and do something nice for someone else. That’d be the best payback you could ever give to me.”
And so, here I am…doing my best to consistently offer words of hope to anyone interested…just as he did for me. And I’m happy to report that, as a direct result of social networking, a great many job offers have come my way, and they’ve turned out to be incredibly lucrative: reality TV show narrations, radio station imaging gigs, internal marketing and training voiceovers for various companies, and I was recently asked to speak with the employees of an Atlanta-based company about the magic of positive thinking…all from positively-charged social networking which doesn’t cost a penny! How cool is that?
You can do the same. It may not be evident by casual observation, but people everywhere are yearning for positive connections, and if you can provide that, you’ll make lifelong friends, who — when it really matters — will remember you.
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