Selfies With Strangers and Other Notes on My Writer’s Journey: A Brief New Year’s Reflection

Your written word, social media, and even your phone’s camera can become great networking tools IF you play it smart.

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What Happened?

I worked my ass off, that’s what happened. As you read on, understand that meeting or knowing some celebrities of a certain profile — and them knowing you — is fine and well for bragging rights but relatively meaningless unless the bills are paid.

  • If you are looking to engage in business, you may want to stray from asking for an autograph. But, you may think, Isn’t asking for a selfie as bad? That depends. I engage first, and if the conversation goes well — and sometimes if contact information is exchanged (you never know) — I ask before we part. I always then ask the person if they’d mind my sharing the photo on my social media. They know as I do, it’s all about self-promotion. Nothing is hidden, there. The people you are asking are generally very savvy about the particular value thereof. The worst they can say is “no.”
  • Recognize that everyone you meet is a window to someone you may want to meet. The degrees of distance between the relationships may vary (“My wife’s sister’s brother’s cousin knows the college roommate of a former Vice President’s brother,” for example), but eventually those degrees will lessen in direct proportion to the growth of your network.
  • Talk to everyone.
  • Never be afraid to ask someone to mentor you. Here’s some psychology: Many public figures find it difficult to trust members of the general public and why not? The perception is most everyone wants something and they are not wrong. The other piece of psychology to understand is that they are rarely told “no.” Break the mood. Tell a joke. Be yourself. You’ll never know where it will lead and I’ll add: The majority of my professional relationships have been attained by doing exactly this once we met. I never put forth what’s expected in these circumstances.
  • Public figures generally put their underwear on (okay, if they wear any at all) the same way you do. They’re human. Don’t treat them as if they’re royalty. You may be surprised at how many celebrities appreciate being treated “normally.”
  • Word travels. You may be surprised if someone you have been working towards meeting actually knows of you through your social media posts. I could have been knocked over with a feather, pardon the cliche, when one of my favorite authors told me he was a fan of my first novel. I asked how he knew; he said he regularly read my Facebook.
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Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

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