Well a Merry Christmas to everyone. Be sure to check out a video that I've worked over the past month with Dean. It will be up tomorrow. Working in the creative industry, networking is very important and crucial for any business. In essence it's a form of marketing yourself and your talents to others. Networking is not limited in who you know. Look at the law of six degrees, we are all only six people away from Kevin Bacon! That guy knows everybody.

Networking works depending on how much you put into it. Funny how so much in life works that way, and it never hurts to get a few lucky breaks along the way either! In today's world with the mass amounts of communication we have at our finger tips, networking has never been easier.

Social Networks/Media Social Networks/Media make it easy to connect with people, question is how well does it actually work?

Facebook I love Facebook for the fact that it's like the online drinking hole. Everyone can meet up quickly and easily and then go on their merry way. Pro's - Easy to post pictures, video, links and more for people to see. If you're in the creative industry, you can show off your stuff quickly and easily - People can contact you with whatever information you make available online. - Groups and Pages are a great way to build a database of people to connect with. And, anyone can join it and find it online, not just your FB friends.. Con's - Advertising on Facebook is terrible. I despise the ads on the sidebars. I think it's a good idea for Facebook, but not for anyone else. I love the quality of placements for FB ads and how they can use your information to display proper ads that are more fitting for you and what you do, but for an advertiser, I don't think it results in a lot of productivity. - Anyone can check out your work and anyone can contact you. It's like a shotgun approach that results in very few results.

Twitter What are you doing? Post links, send direct messages, update people with your menial tasks and more. Plus make it all work with SMS! Pro's - Quick and easy and plenty of it. Update all-day-any-day and let people find you easily. - People don't need to know you to check out your tweets. Con's - People finding you is difficult. Twitter disabled their search. You need to advertise your twitter username outside of twitter to get people to find you. - Spam. Twitter is working on it, but the spam tweets can suck.

Social Media is crucial to be using today. YouTube, Vimeo, Blogs and other various crazy tools out there are becoming more then necessities. You can easily get your work online and in front of people. The possibilities and chance of luck in life increase by using this Medium well.

Who You Know A lot of the work you get will come from who you know. People have a tendency to work with people they know. It's easier (most times), it helps your buddies out and can be a lot of fun - so why go ask some stranger who might be a pain in the butt to work with and a total snob?

I have thoughts on looking to the people you know for gathering work. Sometimes it can feel like Amway or another pyramid scam. You feel bad for bringing it up that you can do work for them or can provide other services to them as well. I've learned that if people know you and know what you can do and you are able to make yourself available, that the work can come. You don't need to be that elephant in the room all the time.

Building Your Network I've already talked about the Social Networks/Media, but where the real money and work is, is where you hit the ground running. Word of Mouth can beat any advertising. Getting out there and meeting people is the best way to get yourself and your work known. There is something special about looking a person in the eyes and telling them why they should use you in the work they need done. There is something about a good old fashioned hand shake that says you're the right guy/girl for the job. Go and meet the people you need to meet and who knows who else you could run into. Most cities and towns have business associations with bi-weekly or monthly meetings you can attend. Your municipality has countless resources for how you can network for your business and make things possible to keep work coming in. Go out on a limb, ask people questions, find out who people are and the people you should know. The more you put yourself out there the more likely you are to see yourself succeed and that's pretty much in any line of work you do.

Extra Notes: Don't assume you can't contact someone. Most people are willing to fire back an email. Don't assume, just try.

What are your thoughts? Any suggestions to help create a strong network?

Matthew A. Hawkins