How Star Trek Taught Me to Understand Social Networking


Back in 1996, before kids (wait…there was a time before kids??), before my travels to Europe, before I started university teaching (wait….there was a time before teaching??), Stan and I were on our way to the Bahamas. We were revisiting the Abacos, the place of our honeymoon in 1991, because we loved the very out-island feel, the coral reef you could swim to, and the fact that on Great Guana Cay there were no roads. On route, we stayed with our grad school friends in Miami for a night, and they had this thing called “the internet”. Little did I know that the funky dial up sounds of America Online and the hilarious Star Trek internet forum we discovered late into the evening would become my means of transporting me (heh. heh. Star Trek humor) into an entirely new career.

Fast forward to 2014 and here I am having taught online at the university level for nearly 15 years, directing social media challenges for a membership group on Facebook, and launching my second book on social media. Time flies, my friends. And in the internet world, that time has meant global relationships built via social media, opportunities that would never have arisen without virtual connections, and many (oh so many) computer upgrades.

I remember laying on my friends’ floor in their Miami apartment, my chin propped in my hands as I looked at their very purple 1996 Acer computer that they had just unpacked that day (and still on the floor…but plugged in). Stan was attempting to interact with another Trekkie…get this…in Israel!…and I was just gobsmacked that there were people all over the world were online at the same time. I’ve since become accustomed to the phenomenon of this global matrix of humanity experiencing online forums at the same time, but am still dazzled that I can develop friendships far and wide. or that I can have online students on submarines in the Pacific ocean, or that I can network with researchers in Australia who themselves were from Scotland and were setting up online schooling for refugees in Burma. Yes, the internet was changing how I did business.

In 2009, I ventured onto Facebook, tentatively posting some status updates and gradually building my network. And the network’s the thing: social is great for catching up with friends, but it’s stunningly fantastic for connecting with thought leaders, VIPs, leaders, and those who know all of those people. It is has upended the recruitment and hiring process.

  • It enables brands who are smart to build a following much faster.
  • It allows us to crowdsource our ideas before we ever invest any money.
  • It provides a mechanism for learning about a company beyond what they want you to know from their website.
  • It creates ways to fundraise and do good in this world.

Such are the reasons why I wroteSocial Networking Success: Building Social Media Relationships to Launch your Brand and Career – because social is so much more than playing Farmville.

Making Connections

Like Social Media Mastery, this book is a collection of challenges that inspire you to take daily actions to start networking with your social media brand. In it, I discuss:

  • The potency of membership groups and mastermind groups to Printfast track your networking prowess.
  • The reasons why building relationships are more important than having a large following.
  • How connecting for informational interviews can help you connect with industry leaders.
  • How networking beyond your own network works on Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • How it is possible to network with Pinterest, Reddit, and Slideshare.
  • Why following the 90/10 rule of helping others is so, so important.

Okay, have I convinced you? There are a lot of nuggets in this book that I think you will find super helpful. Check it out on Amazon!

Social Networking Success: Building Social Media Relationships to Launch your Brand and Career

Bonus: Join my Social Media Community on Google+ – share your ideas, stories, suggestions, and help others. Let’s connect! Go to –>

Doubly – Good Extra Bonus: Want my Top 20 ways to combine social platforms to maximize your efforts? Grab my list here:


Triple good bonus – a countdown special!

I just grabbed Social Networking Success on special today for 0.99!  =>

Happy 2014!

Tara Ross

In the Alsace region of France, near Colmar.

Here’s to an awesome 2014!







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