We dropped one friend off at his building and seconds later bumped into someone my other friend had worked with before,. He asked if we remembered each other–apparently I'd freelanced, years and years ago, at the agency they'd both been at. Neither of us had any recollection whatsoever. They traded stories for a moment or two, catching up on people neither had seen in awhile and then my friend threw out that I'd written FLOW and had recently been on The View (it was a lovely non sequitor). She looked surprised, so I mentioned the whole title was FLOW: the Cultural Story of Menstruation and she said yes she knew, that she had 5 copies of it, that one was always on the conference table at her office, that she was working on a new job for a menstrually related product and the client loved the book so much he insisted everyone involved read it. And that she loves it. LOVES it. She was literally thrilled to meet me.
She asked if I'd please be in touch, if I did any consulting, and then we talked and talked about the book.
In a split second I went from a friend of a friend who happened to be waiting at the edge of a catch up conversation to someone she was going to run home and tell people she'd met.
I have to say it again. Whoa.
We talked about ad campaigns, different ways of getting the word out and after we parted ways, my friend and I kept talking social media. He had just started on twitter, wasn't sure how it all worked, and was shocked to discover how much I know. He had no idea I have this online life, thousands of twitter followers, that I blog every day, have fanpages on Facebook and websites that I created and maintain. That I write at Huffington Post on a regular basis and pieces I've written are all over the web. Apparently these days, employers want people to have all those pieces in place.
I have all those pieces.
But what's it getting me?
So far, not very much except lots of google search mentions.
Maintaining this online presence is a very involved part time job that earns no money, gets no real world recognition, doesn't feel to be furthering my career in any way. And yet, I'm compelled, addicted almost, and blindly keep going, hoping that someday, somehow it'll make a difference.
Am I crazy? Is all this outreach building my profile, my brand, my image or am I spending my time and energy spitting into an ocean?