How to "network" as an online anthropology student
As an online graduate student I've been faced with the challenge of getting the same experience of "networking" and "learning the in's and out's of the discipline" that would normally come with being an on-campus student. The quotations I've used around networking are intentional because I do not (never ever) intentionally network and I'm fairly certain I would fail if I did. Rather, I've met a lot of people by just being myself- social, talkative, ambitious, interested to meet people for the sake of meeting them.
A friend, Celina Kapoor, recently pointed out that she felt like I was good at "networking" and that I have a good idea of how to go about being connected (in the sense of knowing what's going on) in the field of anthropology. After some thought I composed a list of things that I do that I feel are helpful in these regards. I shared my list with my online peers at the recent UNT online orientation. I've included the list below because I think the tips are just as beneficial for on-campus anthropology students. Eventually I'd like to turn it into a wiki page because the list will really be an on-going project. I'd love to hear feedback and comments (jencardew at gmail dot com) if you have any!
The following document was composed to offer suggestions on how to “network” as an online student, but all of the tips can be used by on-campus students and non-students alike. An added benefit from using these tools to network is that you are more likely to become more involved in the field of anthropology and to learn more about the field.
As a graduate student in an online program you may miss out on networking opportunities that on-campus students have, in the last year I have found ways to overcome this- some are obvious and some may not be. Each one takes time, however in my opinion it is worth it. Many of us will be entering into a new field of work, new job, etc. after graduation and one of the best ways to find a job is through networking. Also, I have found it helpful to just get to know other anthropologists, and anthropologists in your sub-field of interest specifically, because while you might not call on them for a lead on a job, you’ll have people to ask for advice, direction, etc. (don’t forget that your advisor can help with this too!) I have been active in all of the following activities, I’ve incorporated it into my routine, but I don’t spend much time on it.
blogs: read, comment and/or start your own (a blog is an online journal, visit this site for a more throughout explanation.)
o I have found that the anthropologists that blog are really friendly and happy to talk! A good way to enter into the “blogging community” of anthropology bloggers is to subscribe to blogs that cover topics you are interested in and to write comments as a response to posts that you have an interest in, opinion on, can add to, etc. This helps to open the dialogue and also is beneficial because you’ll expand your horizons!
o Visit this site to watch a short and simple video learn about subscribing to blogs via RSS (free notifications of new posts by the blogs you are interested in)
o If you would like to use a RSS feed reader to organize your blog subscriptions (it’s convenient and free!) I recommend Google Reader. There are directions on the website, and I would be more than happy to walk you through it if you need help!
o Here is a comprehensive list of anthropology blogs antropologi.info/blog/
o You can also search and find blogs using technorati
o Another great way to enter into this community is to start your own blog. There are a few different “anthropology blogging families”- mine Anthroblogs is run by John Norvell.
o By starting your own blog you’ll be in control of the topics discussed and people will seek you out to start a dialogue- it’s a small community, so it’s super easy to get involved and to get readers.
o You’d be surprised at the amount of people that could email you about what you write (I was contacted by a Canadian news reporter after having my blog for about 2 months)
o There are many free websites that offer free blogging tools that are simple and easy to set up- Word Press is (in my opinion) the easiest to use because you do not need to know any HTML, etc. they give you free templates. Blogger is another free site run by Google
o By being involved in the anthropology blogging community you’ll increase your chances of starting dialogues with people that have similar interests, but you’ll also start to just “get your name out there”
o Also, don’t limit yourself to “anthropology” blogs—what are related disciplines that you could learn more about and get to know people? i.e., design, education, public health
listservs (visit this site to learn about listservs)
o By joining one of the free email listservs you’ll keep up-to-date with happenings in your sub-discipline and you’ll learn more about others’ interests
o Once you feel comfortable, you can start posting discussion emails and/or responding
o If you see that someone posts discussions that you are interested in- email them off-list and start a discussion, people in general are super nice (and if they’re not, do you really want to talk to them?)
o Sometimes job postings and/or events are announced- pay attention to ones in your area, etc. and attend!
o This website has a good list of anthropology listservs
o This is the AAA (American Anthropological Association) list of listservs
o In the past year I’ve seen people’s websites, etc. and emailed them a question i.e., can I see your syllabus for your course, etc.
o People are usually responsive, if not, don’t be discouraged though
o People like to talk about themselves ☺
o Local Practitioner Organizations
o These are regional groups made up of practitioners and applied anthropologists
o Some LPOs are active and have events, etc.
o Some are not as active, but still have a listserv (see listservs)
o A lot of LPOs will meet up at the bigger conferences, stay informed about such events and meet up with them! (see conference)
o See this site for an explanation of LPO and a list of LPO
There are benefits to joining anthropology associations such as, discounted registration for conferences, newsletters, free publications, etc.
o The two main ones are:
o Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA)
o SfAA has a social network (see social networks)
o Look around on the website there is a lot of good resources!
o American Anthropological Association (AAA)
o Look around on the website there is a lot of good resources!
o The AAA has sub-sections i.e., NAPA
o It costs about $10 for students to join the sub-groups
o They meet up at the conferences (see conference)
o AAA interest groups
conferences: workshops, events, common areas
o The two main anthropology conferences are:
o The AAA in the fall (usually October or November)
o The SfAA in the spring (usually March or April)
o There are smaller conferences for smaller organizations
• Savage Minds has put together some info on anthropology conferences here
o There is a business anthropology conference called EPIC in the fall (usually October) EPIC
o Each conference has workshops (for an extra fee)
o Workshops are typically small groups of people and therefore easier to approach and talk to others- if they are in the same workshop, they might have similar interests
o Each conference also has “parties” hosted by various groups
o Attend ones that look interesting, people are usually very approachable!
o There are always student gatherings too, check the message boards
o Volunteer, it’s an easy way to get access to a lot of people and it’s an easy way to get involved in conversations (see podcasting)
o Hang out in common areas and just strike up conversations
o This is easy if you smoke ☺
o Get to know students that have similar interests, etc. and help each other out!
o Keep an eye on your local universities lecture series and attend if you see something that looks interesting
o A lot of dissertation defenses are open to the public, attend some anthropology ones
o See about joining their listsev or clubs – not sure if this is possible, but worth a try
o Started at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the SfAA in Tampa, FL
o Volunteers have a lot of opportunities to interact with speakers in various ways
o Volunteers can volunteer for sessions that are of topical interest
o Also, you’ll have something to talk about at the conference ☺
o It’s a good way to get your name out too- volunteer information is included
social networks (visit this site to view a short, simple video and learn about social networks)
o There are many different social networking site and all are free to join
o Find people that have similar interests and engage in conversation
o Write a bio about yourself so that others can contact you!
o The SfAA has recently started a social network site
o There are student forums and interest groups
o It’s easy to message or comment to people
o It’s not too active yet (still worth your time though) so invite others to join!