Oh hey, I wrote an eBook! You can purchase a copy of How To Network Online on this page, but for now, allow me to share a little introduction as to how it all came about…
If you’re new around here, it’s lovely to meet you! My name is Pippa, and I’m a chronically ill writer and blogger. I was diagnosed with my condition (ME/CFS) after my health rapidly declined during my university years, and for the first time, my eyes were opened to the numerous barriers that disabled people face in education and employment.
As somebody who describes themselves as an ‘in-betweener’ when it comes to health (more on that one here!), I knew that the path to whatever came next perhaps wasn’t going to be straightforward as it once would have been. Consequently, a huge amount of my time and energy as a student was taken up with worrying what the future would hold. It was around now that I first realised that if I really wanted to make something of myself, fluctuating health and all, I’d probably have to find some alternate pathways to doing so.
Chronic illness can change every single element of your life, but make no mistake, it doesn’t inherently take away your hopes and dreams. Even when my condition was at its worst and I spent most of my time in bed, there was still always an idea or two for the future brewing at the back of my mind. The challenge was in finding ways of putting myself out there and making an impression among new potential contacts who could help me to action these things, whilst primarily stationed at home in my Disney pyjamas.
When you’re dealing with a disability or long-term condition, the unfortunate reality is that you seem to become a little invisible. If you’re having to spend most of your time alone in one room, it’s only natural for you to feel less integrated in society. You’re meeting fewer people and conducting fewer face-to-face conversations, and often, your circumstances mean you’re having to say ‘no’ to opportunities much more frequently than you’re able to commit to them. And I know first-hand just how frustrating and isolating that fact can be.
Although my own story and experiences are ingrained in chronic illness, I imagine there will be dozens of other individual circumstances that could lead to similar feelings of disconnect with the outside world. People with mental illnesses, parents and carers, ethnic minorities, older people, those living in poverty or with lower incomes, and even those who live in more rural areas have all been shown to experience higher levels of social isolation due to their circumstances, therefore feeling less connected with the world around them. Such circumstances can and do disadvantage individuals in the world of traditional face-to-face networking, by limiting their ability to physically participate in such events and meet new people.
My own experiences, however, have shown me that there may just be a creative way to partially combat this issue: learning how to network online.
In my generation in particular, there seems to be this misconception that it’s all about waiting for opportunities to come to you. And whilst that can happen, and it’s flipping awesome when it does, I think that people also need to recognise the power of proactively putting yourself out there… and technology offers us an ideal platform for doing so. Whilst we’re waiting for the world to wake up to the benefits of a more inclusive society, we need to take it upon ourselves to ensure we stay visible, to fight for the things we deserve, and to embrace any chance to pursue our goals. If there’s a lack of accessible opportunities for people like us, I suppose that just means that we’ll have to create them ourselves.
This realisation was the turning point for me. I stopped patiently hoping and waiting for things to come my way, and instead began figuring out how to take some metaphorical steps forward myself. I slowly learned to recognise my worth and use my skills to form meaningful connections online, which eventually bloomed into opportunities that changed my life. And with my new eBook, How To Network Online, I hope to share some insight into how you can do the same.
Curious? Find out more and grab your own copy of the eBook by visiting this page, and find out more about me here! I really hope the contents of this guide help you take those first steps into the world of online networking. You have so much to offer, and it’s your time to shine. Let’s do this, shall we?