I recently finished a great book on my kindle. It’s a story about a writer’s journey through Patagonia while on assignment for National Geographic. Those who know me know that the initial description alone would be enough of a hook. This story though, takes off on another level completely, and the author weaves his personal struggles, joys, and everything in between into the fabric of stunningly perfect descriptions of the land he’s traversing. I was captivated, and while I didn’t love everything in the storyline, I couldn’t read it fast enough. I finished it and wanted to recreate the actual trip, meet the people he met, drive the roads he drove, see the skies he saw, and eat and drink the food and wine he ate and drank.
When I finished, my kindle gave me the option to post a tweet about the book. So I did, and took an extra moment to look up the author’s twitter handle and mentioned him as well. This particular author isn’t a household name, but has contributed to many publications that are. He replied with a simple thank you and asked me to write a review on Amazon. I was happy to do it, and after I posted the review he thanked me again. He recommended another book he has written, and also posted my review to his website. He lives in England, and I live in Chicago. We’ll probably never meet or even talk, but we’ve had quite a bit of interaction on Twitter, written reviews, conversed about other writing projects, and that was well worth the short amount of time spent.
The point of all this is to choose to engage online. It seems fairly simplistic and maybe even overly so, but I’m often surprised at what people choose to promote (or the opposite) over what they could promote. Choose to promote yourself, your value, or other people and subjects you value. To do this well, sometimes you need to make it personal. Be intentional to ask people (especially those you don’t yet know) a question, or for a call or meeting. Even though in the case of this author, we’ll likely never meet, I’ve had many similar interactions and several meetings that have resulted from a simple ask via Twitter. Those meetings whether in person (conferences are great places to set up meetings on Twitter), email, or phone may otherwise never happen. You have value to offer, and in many cases there is value for you in return. Make sure that is clear and apparent to people who are intentionally looking for that value, as well as those who may find it accidentally.