Perhaps I’m being petty here, but it always feels to me like condemnations of social media are especially popular among professionally successful men who have nannies or at-home wives. They’re the ones who gush about firm handshakes, civilized venues, and the unique benefits of face-to-face interaction. I understand completely! I too would prefer to forge my professional connections at the National Press Club, rather than trading barbs on Twitter in my pajama pants. I fully agree that networking would be much pleasanter over a cocktail or a plate of Eggs Benedict. For me though, the National Press Club is eleven hundred miles away, and going out even for a single evening is a rare treat. I’ve built up a writing career from my Minnesota bedroom, perfecting pitches while babies slept on my lap and toddlers played at my feet. At the start, I had no journalistic connections. How would any of it have been possible without social media? There’s a short answer: it wouldn’t.
I keep reading nowadays that social media undermines democracy. That might be true in some ways, but it also strengthens democracy by enabling a wider range of people to find access points to professional communities. Don’t relegate people like me to private mommy blogs!