So Brendan’s post got me thinking about how small this little world is. For those of you that don’t know me yet, I’m Sydney Owen, and I have been an Austinite for 45 days. I joined the WCG team in Austin just in time to escape the dreary winters in Chicago. But fear not, before Chicago, I was in Florida – so I know how you guys roll here with the super-hot summers.
Now that we have that bit out of the way – I’d like to second Brendan’s notions in his post yesterday and say this: yes, yes and yes. Social media makes this world incredibly tiny, especially in the industry we’re in.
My story? I met Greg Matthews in 2009 at SXSW a mere 30 minutes before I met the man who would be my first boss. We kept in touch through my first job, found out we had mutual friends in Chicago (Rick Murray at Edelman) and fast forward a year later and I’m in Austin for SXSW 2010.
At SXSW10, I met up with Greg and we hashed out old times that were SXSW09. I met Chuck Hemann, who I had been conversing with online for quite some time, in real life at a blogger meetup. I also met this hilarious guy at a rooftop bar for one of the sponsored parties. We got to chatting and he mentioned he worked for Juniper, but lived in Austin. He bragged about how he could work in his pajamas, since he worked remotely. I knew Juniper was a client of the agency I was currently working at, and he mentioned he had previously worked at a competing agency. So we played that whole game. I had sent him an email when we got back from Austin, saying how lovely it was to meet him and to stay in touch in case he was ever visiting the agency on business or something.
Also during SXSW10, I was invited to join my friend Peter and some of my blogger buddies to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Long story short, I discovered skydiving is my new obsession slash calling in life and immediately started exploring some opportunities in warmer climates so I could (hopefully) jump more often. I talked to Greg and Chuck and Paul about the awesome work they’re doing at WCG and realized I wasn’t sure where I wanted my career to go.
Fast forward to August and after a few months of having heart-to-hearts with myself and my trusted mentors, I shoot Greg a DM saying “so what’s it gonna take to get me down to Austin” which was promptly followed up with a phone call, which led to a trip to Austin to meet the team for interviews, etc etc etc, you know the story.
Fast forward to last week when my colleague Andy told me that a new director was starting, some guy who was heading up SM at Juniper. I have flashbacks to ridiculous sarcasm on a rooftop somewhere in Austin for SXSW 2010 with a hilarious dude named Brendan, who was running SM for a company that was a client of the agency I was working with. I put two and two together and do a little happy dance.
Long story short, welcome, Brendan. And long story long, glad that we’re on the same team now.
The proof is in the pudding that our team is growing to be something all kinds of awesomesauce. And that this world is indeed very, very small.
So, to build on Brendan’s points and make a couple of my own:
- Yes, you can get a job using social media. I would also add that there is a difference between working in social media and using social media to find work. They are not one in the same. Tweeting your face off does not guarantee employment.
- Yes, connections, even the most random, can lead to employment, or at least a fun connection when you realize that someone you met randomly and talked to for maybe half an hour is now your colleague.
- Get a hobby outside of work. It will open your eyes to new opportunities, fresh new ways of thinking, new ways of approaching things and will help you differentiate yourself from the pack. And, of course, if that hobby happens to be skydiving, you know where to find me.
Now I’m curious, how many of us are here because of a connection that started or was fostered with the help of social media?