I hate networking.
Even just typing the word makes me cringe because it makes me think walking up to a complete stranger and striking up a conversation. I hate approaching strangers. Ever since the time with the van and the candy, I… I’d rather not talk about it.
Networking is a time suck that doesn’t scale. Whenever you want to make new connections, you have to go to a location, be mentally present, and you can’t be doing anything else. It’s an active task, not a passive task.
You don’t have time for more active tasks because your day job is already overworking you. You don’t have free work time, so any time you carve out for networking is going to mean less personal time for you, the ones you love, and your health.
And let’s be honest – most of us aren’t really people people. Old-school networking – going to “businessing” meetings and rubbing elbows with people in suits – drains the bejeezus out of me. I’d rather be doing just about anything else.
That’s why you should be coding and blogging.
You don’t need amazing people skills, and you don’t have to be photogenic, either. Blogging and coding are about the quality of what comes out of your keyboard, not your mouth. You can take your time, polish your craft, and gradually up your game.
Blogging and coding are asynchronous. You can don’t have to meet strangers at some arbitrary date/time/place. You can make the schedule whatever works for you – after the kids go to bed, before you go to work, or in the middle of the night when you’ve got a great idea.
These tasks prove your expertise publicly. Blogs and Github projects are like resumes: a permanent written record of what you were working on, when.
Other people will do your networking while you sleep. When you write good stuff, other people will pass it on to their friends. People with a huge network will help snowball your readership faster.
Coding and blogging are passive networking tasks. Sure, the writing itself is an active task – you have to focus to put good stuff out there – but once it’s out, it stays out for years, slowly gathering readers. Good work snowballs, paying itself forward.