Mining Facebook for connections – and finding inspiration

ann murray paige

One of the business things I learned about at the recent Moby Dick Project event in Palo Alto last month was a concept that somehow I had missed called the ‘Valley of Death’ – the time in the life cycle of a research project where you’re caught between your early stage funding for research and the later-stage funding when your project/technology/research gets interest from investors. (Thanks to Nikita Bernstein at Boston-based Jove.com for the educational moment.)

I think the job search has a similar valley, at least for me in this economy. Right now, I have reached out and connected with job opportunities that are most closely related to my media background, but I need to tap into that next circle, of organizations that are related, but not directly, to my background. It’s a tougher sell for me, and in this economy, I have a feeling that it will be a tougher buy for many people in PR/marketing/policy to stretch beyond looking for people with PR/marketing/policy backgrounds. (If you’re one of those hiring people – it’s worth it. You want people who can deliver quickly, smartly, on time and under budget? Look hard at former journalists.)

But regardless, it’s a time of uncertainty. And there are times when I’m not quite sure how to fill the next fifteen minutes productively.

One strategy I started last night to turn this negative into a positive was to start drilling into the Facebook feeds of some old friends and colleagues, just to see what they have been up to. Their kids are all stunningly older than when I saw them last, their lives full of new things, and in a few cases, there are whole major chapters of their lives unfolding that I just hadn’t grasped.

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