building your network

the power of online communities

On focusing

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the intentionality of our interactions, and the way that we carry ourselves online. And for the intentions of these emails, that’s exploring the online world, the tech industry, and how we’re thinking about things ethically, and with our community in mind first.

So without further ado, thanks for being part of my community. ❤️

True internet networking

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a relatively new New Yorker. I’ve been there a year now. That’s it. I moved for graduate school, to take my career to the next level, and to grow. And admittedly, half of that was for the connections of the people I’d meet.

Since COVID-19, we’ve all had our lives moved online, and many people have been using this online world a little bit differently. We’ve seen the online networking events, connecting and gathering online, and one too many Instagram live’s for us to count, and even experienced our own set of Zoom burnout.

But yet, during this time, we’re truly leveraging the power of our online communities to the power that we truly can be. I’ve connected with more people that don’t share a geographic boundary, had virtual coffees with those in my industry, and even started new projects with people from different time zones, all without leaving your living room.

The thing is, as this becomes more normalized, many people wonder if moving to the geographic hotbeds for startup and innovation such as Silicon Valley or NYC. The reality is, that I’m not sure we can even make this call yet. We’re starting to see more of our world get sick of the pandemic and wander outside, alas, I’m not sure if networking will stay the same. I’m optimistic that we’ll start to shift slightly more online, but I have a debate if we’ll return to pour power lunches and cocktail mixers anytime soon.

How to truly connect online

  • View your online presence - the law of attraction matters, how are you positioning yourself?

  • Understand your goal - why do you want to connect with someone? Don’t hesitate to put things upfront.

  • Engagement matters - I leverage Twitter lists to curate feeds of specific industries I want to know more about, or want to become closer to.

  • Be honest - the same rules work online as well as off, don’t be an asshole, tell the truth, connect for good. If anything, it’s easier to google things in this environment. 😉

have a tip for networking online? reply to this email and let me know!

Reminder: products reflect the people that create them.

Flashback a week ago: at the Snap Partner Summit, CEO Evan Spiegel refused to release their diversity report, and it’s not the first time he’s done so, Snapchat hasn’t released a diversity report since 2011. And while he’s defended his claims on not releasing it, understanding that “he doesn’t want to ‘normalize’ the homogeneous composition of the tech workforce,” but the evidence of why this isn’t a good choice already is coming through.

Case in point: the Snapchat Juneteenth filter. The organization literally demonstrated that clearly, they don’t have, nor listen to voices of color within their organization, led into yet another apology.

This isn’t the first time that the platform has come under fire. Snapchat has taken push back, not just from the public, but from their Black employees and employees of color within the organization. And for a company to not release their diversity report, and then to have this to happen, the evidence is clear. Platforms are as flawed as the people that create them.

So what do you do next if you’re looking around the room and everyone looks like you:

  • Be transparent about it - release the numbers, speak your truth

  • Create your action plan, and then let people know

  • Do work. Understand why it got this way. Educate yourself.

  • Commit to doing better.

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One last reminder:

Erin for Tech is a newsletter on the social impacts of technology, written by Erin Mikail, a community + product thinker. If you liked this newsletter, please share it, if you really liked it - you can support the project on Patreon.

Until next time, see you on the internet my dudes 🏄‍♀️