BE A CEREBRAL STALKER. One of the wonderful things about social networks like Twitter is that you can find out about people’s work by watching and listening in on their public exchanges. Isn’t this precisely what platforms like Twitter and Facebook are for?* 😉 Certainly it makes the perfect way in for newcomers. So try this:
1. Find someone you admire on Twitter, follow them and the various topics that interest them – even follow some of the people they follow.
2. Lurk / listen for a few weeks, perhaps, before boldly @mentioning the person, directing a question their way, or asking them for some kind of feedback.
3. There are savvy and not so savvy ways of doing this, but we totally encourage tweets like this one, “Hey @charlottefrost, I noticed you’re working on a project about ______, what do you think of ______. Any advice?” OR, “@Jessifer, I just retweeted your new article, do you have any additional sources on _______?”
4. Rinse and repeat. Very meaningful conversations and even meaningful collaborative relationships can develop from this sort of educated (and polite) cold-calling. OK, that’s not really being a stalker is it?
* We don’t encourage stalking outside of social media channels (or even actual stalking within social media channels). There is a different set of ethics related to how we engage on social media and how we engage in face-to-face situations. Be careful to respect the boundaries of the medium in which you’re approaching someone.