The Networking Matrix (Or How to Network Effectively in DC the Antisocial Way)
By Truman Wosnak July 8, 2014
How networking is like The Matrix
WASHINGTON, DC – Do you remember that one scene from The Matrix movie when Agent Smith has Morpheus hostage and he’s trying to get information out of him? Remember how Smith tells him that he’s recently had a revelation about humans? How they all follow the exact same pattern as a virus? That’s possibly the greatest scene of all time. I was only about 6 when the movie came out, but I watch that scene over and over again on YouTube. Agent Smith is kinda like the dad I wish I had. He’s trapped in a place he doesn’t want to be, but knows he has a job to do and won’t get free until that job is done. Unfortunately, that job requires working with a bunch of people who are like a disease to him. I swear whoever wrote that character pretty muck looked into my mind and typed what they saw there. Because that’s exactly the way I feel. To get ahead I know I’m going to have to learn how to network effectively in DC, talk to people and go to events and stuff. I know I need to Always Be Networking or whatever, but I dread doing it. My dream job is sitting alone in a room with a computer, comfortably separated from humans by billions of streams of data. Kind of like the Architect. Or maybe Brainiac. Anyway, I’m guessing there are others out there with the same distaste for “being social” (whatever that means) that I have. With that in mind, here’s some tips on networking the antisocial way.
I Surf the Net
This is the preferred method for me. I find social networking is a great way to mingle and network without the added pressure of having to, you know, actually talk to someone. Sometimes I’ll join a relevant Facebook group or start a Twitter account and join in the conversation (saying as little as possible). It’s nice being able to think about my posts and responses without actually being put on the spot by a conversation. With no boundaries or limits to what I say, social networking lets me tap into a pool of international talents and resources. This is why it’s my ideal way to get it done.
I Find People Like Me
When I do actually venture out, I go to places where people share the same interests as me. This is usually comic book conventions, Anime Expo and the Annual 5-Pound Burrito-Eating contest. Things like that. Just because my work might be something completely different, doesn’t mean I’m restricted to that specific topic at networking events. Hey, you never know what someone is into once they get out of their day job. Networking is all about making connections, and finding a common interest really helps.
I Prepare For Battle
That’s how I look at networking events, anyway. A battle. Like the last fight with Neo in Matrix (although that didn’t end well for Smith). I ready myself by summarizing what I do in a few short sentences, so, I’m totally ready to answer. Also, since I don’t have business cards yet, I carry a pen wherever I go. At least I can write my email on somebody else’s business card. Knowing what I want to get out of networking to begin with is also a plus. It’s all about creating an atmosphere where I’m most at ease, allowing me to interact with people. I’m building a social network that works best for me. I might see networking as a chore, but it’s necessary to get ahead. That’s why when I do it, I come prepared. Being as efficient and as comfortable as I can be makes the task a little easier and ultimately will help me take advantage of the internship opportunities in DC, and jumpstart my career path. Mission accomplished, now I’m free!