Freelance writers and field geologists have a lot in common. They spend most of their time in isolation, missing out on the serendipity of face to face interactions with others who might provide fresh insight or help them to do their jobs better.
That’s why, as a freelance writer and former exploration geologist, I would encourage all fieldies to join LinkedIn linkedin.com to take advantage of what the business networking site’s “Groups” have to offer. Founded in California in 2003, LinkedIn has more than 65 million users in 200 countries representing most industry sectors. As someone who writes about mineral exploration, commodities, and mining, I have found Groups such as the Geologist Network, GIS in Geoscience, and Mineral and Metals Professionals Globally, and Mining: Exploration & Geology invaluable sources of information and feedback.
Sometimes, this type of on-line networking can reap personal benefits. Through a series of serendipitous exchanges, for instance, a member of Metals Professionals Globally helped my husband, a Canadian geologist, find accommodation and logistical support for the Comrades marathon in South Africa. Roger was running the 89 km race for the first time this year so he needed all the advice and help he could get.
To join an LI group, just establish a profile, click on “Groups Directory” and enter a keyword such as “exploration” or “geophysics.” You’ll find that there are several groups available depending on your specialty or area of interest. Many of these groups vet requests before allowing membership, so you know you are dealing with credible professionals.
Some lament the increasing popularity of on-line social networking, arguing that it is replacing important face to face contact with something less rewarding. But for those of us who spend a great deal of our time alone because of the nature of our jobs, sites like LinkedIn provide a connection to like-minded colleagues around the globe who are usually happy to answer questions and share expertise.
By going a step further and joining Groups, you will be able to target your queries or announcements even more, ensuring that your message gets to the right people at the right time.