I've been helping people connect to each other and to the things that make their lives better for decades. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. have made it easier to help friends, family and colleagues find jobs, homes, products, services, insights and each other. But unfortunately, social networking hasn't improved the way some people go about asking for help.
Here are 3 common sense rules to follow when seeking assistance:
Rule #1 Give me the information I need to help you get what you need, whether it's an introduction to a potential employer or client, a pensione recommendation in Barcelona or a copy polish of your website, a reputable cat shelter or a recipe, or even advice on how to manage your social reputation. Help me help you by telling me as much as you can in your initial request. I'm doing you a favor. So please don't expect me to dig for the details. And don't be surprised if I decline to pass your nebulous question along. Because I refuse to spam my entire social network with a half-baked request.
Rule #2 Don't wait until the last minute to reach out to me -- unless it's an emergency. Just last week, a friend sent me a cryptic note asking if I have any entertainment contacts because her boss has a contract in China and needs "diverse" performers. I received this message on Friday. She needed the information by Monday. This friend is near and dear to my heart. So I spent 2 days digging the necessary details out of her so I could connect her to a Casting Director. I hope it works out. And I also hope that the next time she asks me for a favor, she gives me a bit more information upfront. And that she does her homework first.
Which brings me to Rule #3. Help yourself. If you're connected to me, chances are my entire network is at your disposal. My life is pretty much an open book. You can access almost everyone and everything I know. My LinkedIn contacts are open for you to browse. My Delicious bookmarks are public. My Flickr and Twitter streams are on the front page of this site for all the world to see. Mi casa es su casa. So while I'm happy to help you get to whatever or whoever you need, please do a little research on your own before contacting me in case what you need is already at your fingertips.