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On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online

COW Blogs : Kylee Peña's Blog : On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online
This is an anecdote about the importance of putting yourself out there, not being shy, and not acting like a d*ck on the Internet.

I grew up shy. I was in at least two stage productions a year from the moment I went to junior high, but introducing myself to people or confronting people was nearly out of the question. It's probably part of the reason I gravitated toward post production - a lot less talking to a lot fewer people, generally. Over the years, I kind of grew out of it. But being an introvert and avoiding speaking to people for fear of burdening them with your silly concerns or saying something stupid always lingers.

Basically my first instinct is NOT to go running up to strangers to talk their ear off in a social situation.

I've been a member of the COW for few years, but I lurked for a few years before that (shy, afraid of saying something stupid). My first year at my first job out of college, I spent almost all of my downtime on the COW forums reading about others' mistakes and learning a lot about Premiere and FCP7 and After Effects. Turns out, the power users that know their stuff are regular contributors to the community. Not just on Creative COW, but also across the Internet on their own sites and social media. I ran into the same people a LOT, and they taught me nearly everything that was important in transitioning from being a student to being a professional. And they didn't even know me.

I've been on Twitter since 2007, and the Twitter post community really came to life in 2009 or 2010. I was always aware of myself when I was talking to some of these power users. They're just editors, but you don't want to act like an idiot in front of someone you respect right? Even if to them, you're another random person.

Then came NAB 2012 and face to face interactions. By then, I'm sure some of these people I held in high regard had an awareness of me simply because we'd crossed paths online fairly often. But we didn't KNOW each other. We'd never met. And they weren't going to hunt ME down. So one of my goals for my first NAB was to introduce myself to a small list of important people to thank them for assisting anonymous internet users like me.

As an introvert, it's definitely not easy to walk up to a relative stranger and speak to them. It's not like I have massive social anxiety either, so don't give me too much credit. But still, it's a little uneasy for most people. But it's got to be done, so I made a mental list of people I wanted to say hello to and found them. To my surprise, most of them not only knew me, but they were the friendliest people I met. I've said it before: Twitter is a great ice breaker. If you're worried about saying something dumb, you're already ahead of 99% of Twitter users, so just go for it.

I've tried to be an active member of the post community online and locally. I'm honest and opinionated, but in measured ways. I probably take more than I give from our community, especially on the COW forums (and usually in the form of a Google search for a long-answered question) but I always try to be respectful. Internet tough guy syndrome sometime makes a person feel invincible; then you go to a conference or user group meeting and realize all these avatars have real people behind them. Real people that are worth knowing.

Anyway, the point of this story is that I recently accepted a video editor position with Biscardi Creative Media! I wouldn't know Walter without the COW and Twitter, and he absolutely wouldn't know me. There's almost no crossing of paths between Indianapolis and Atlanta. I attribute this awesome new opportunity to putting myself out there (online and in person), not being shy, and not acting like a d*ck on the Internet. And also probably some aspect of editorial talent…but mostly not acting like a fool.

It's something that's worth keeping in mind when the forum discussions get heated, maybe.

And definitely worth noting when someone says "Social media? Psh, I don't have time for that life-wasting stuff!" Guess what? Social media is just as inevitable as the cloud and death and taxes, and it's an important tool. Not just for networking, finding jobs and providing an introvert's buffer zone, but mostly for developing REAL friendships.

So expect some COW blog cross-over beginning this summer!

Posted by: Kylee Peña on May 9, 2013 at 5:43:47 amComments (16) networking, social media


Re: On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online
by Paula Wertheim
Hi Kylee-

Enjoyed your post and Mazal tov on the new job!

( you're an introvert too, eh??)

I'm ashamed to admit I'm still a newbie to all this social media stuff ("Aha!" I hear you all say, "we knew it!")

Are we all done sniggering for now? If not, I'll wait...

The moment of truth arrived the minute my workplace shifted from offline to on less than a year ago. That was when I knew I had to become a social media guru yesterday or die trying.

Now I'm going to tell you a little secret about introverts, and social media: our first tentative baby steps into Twitter-land can be daunting indeed; a little like being stuck standing at the intersection of a busy highway for hours waiting for the light to change.


Most of the time our hands start shaking uncontrollably and we break out in a cold sweat, like after schlepping for hours in traffic to get to a fancy wedding on time, and that sickening, dreadful knot in your stomach after realizing the only familiar faces in the entire place belong to the bride and her mother.

(Not to worry. If you bear with me a little longer, there is a happy ending to this miserable tale.)

After sticking with it like a trooper for several months, something amazing happened. I began to relax. I began to indulge in a few "chucks" on Twitter, FB and LinkedIn (yes, my friends - and on SacredCOW). Eventually I learned to go with the flow and could actually look forward to an hour or so of hanging out on Twitter without throwing up. I was finally in the pond swimming with the best of them, and it was wonderful.

The moral of the story is: Social media is the best thing to happen to cave-dwellers since the telephone and typewriter.

So you don't think I'm some kind of anti-social recluse weirdo, next time anybody here happens to be passing through the Middle East, you have an open invitation to stop at our humble abode in Beit Shemesh and say hello.

Just don't expect me to show up at your convention or wedding unless you invite Tuvia also.


Paula Wertheim, HDAudioPlus
@Paula Wertheim
by Kylee Peña
Thank you! I'm glad you've seen vast returns on your mental investment into social media. A thing that helps quell anxieties in my opinion is meeting people offline and realizing they're just the same cave-dwelling introvert you are. So I hope you do get some visitors to your abode. It's good for you :)

twitter: @kyl33t
@Kylee Wall
by Paula Wertheim
I've read similar observations from other bloggers about meeting people offline. Generally (if they're lucky) no big surprises...

So...when did I hear you say you were stopping by for a cuppa? People tell me I make a mean Turkish coffee ;-)
Re: On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online
by Marion Laney
Welcome Kylee! Look forward to working with you at BCM and Walter.
Yes, Walter being a helpful soul was how we hooked up through "Good Eats". I was floundering on personal project using FCP and he saved the day. Through conversation he determined I was DP/AD for "Good Eats" and he was a fan. One thing led to another and he became part of the team.
So yes, being nice and cordial can have benefits!!

Marion Laney
Atlanta & Gulf Coast
Producing in HD&4k&35mm
Food Network series "Good Eats" 250 eps, "Feasting On Waves" - Peabody Award
Bridgestone Golf, Tennis pro's (live action & for VFX)
James Beard Foundation- National Awards Committee
Experienced producing/shooting on 3 continents & many islands
"From Tabletops to City Blocks!"

@Marion Laney
by Kylee Peña
Thanks Marion! Based on all the great things Walter has to say about you and your crew, I'm extra excited to work with you all. Bonus points for working on one of my favorite shows!

twitter: @kyl33t
Re: On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online
by Mike Cohen
Creative COW is social networking and predates FB, Twitter and LinkedIn by about 5 years.
I've only met a couple of COWs either face to face or by phone but I "know" many more electronically only.
Congrats on proving that all this extracurricular online activity can in fact get you hired. I've had more than a few leads from my COW activities.
It's like when kids who grew up playing video games become fighter pilots or surgeons - those fun activities are relevant.
See you in the pasture.
Mike Cohen

Medical Education / Multimedia Producer
Surgical Video Production
@On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online
by Tim Wilson
And re: the larger topic of not acting like a dick online: Walter will tell you that his company jumped to the next level when his posting as a helpful guy rather than a RTFM douche led directly to his job working with Good Eats for 5 years.

My own posts and tutorials as a forum member in the late 90s led directly to me being hired by Boris FX, too.

It was only a matter of time before somebody good snapped up Kylee, and in this case, it was somebody pretty good I guess. LOL

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW

Re: On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online
by Richard Harrington
Sincere congratulations. Best of luck and do good things.

Richard M. Harrington, PMP

Author: From Still to Motion, Video Made on a Mac, Photoshop for Video, Understanding Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Studio On the Spot and Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques
@Richard Harrington
by Kylee Peña
Thanks so much! Much appreciated.

twitter: @kyl33t
Re: On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online
by Jon Barrie
Great story!

I too found more confidence in being a part of the CCOW.

My job at Adobe has a clear connection to my time spent helping in the cow and making tutorials on youtube.

Ill look out for you at next NAB :)

- JB

Jon Barrie
Adobe Video Solutions Consultant ANZ
Jon's YouTube Tutorial Page
follow Jon with twitter
Re: On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online
by Victor Perez
Congrats Kylee. Great post. Awesome how the Cow lets us connect with peers across the country and follow those we look up to in our field of work.
All the best,

Re: On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online
by Julian Gil
Congratulations Kylee. I know you'll be a big asset to BCM! Way to go. I need to take a page out of your book.

Re: On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online
by Tim Wilson
Talk about burying the lede! You get three-quarters of the way through the story before you mention the NEWS that you GOT A JOB WORKING FOR WALTER BISCARDI!!! Congratulations to both of you!!!

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW

@Tim Wilson
by Kylee Peña
I don't like being braggy.

Which is the opposite of one of the points I'm trying to make in the blog...


twitter: @kyl33t
Re: On Networking, Being Direct, & Not Acting Like a D*#% Online
by walter biscardi
Nicely done Kylee. Especially in light of all the "discussions" around the social media sphere over the past two days, this is an especially good reminder that what you do and say on the internet always comes back to you.

So proud to call you a teammate and so glad you stalked me in 2012..... :)

First Meeting, NAB 2012 in the Small Tree Booth!

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

Foul Water Fiery Serpent, an original documentary featuring Sigourney Weave...
MTWD Entertainment - Developing original content for all media.
"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.
"Science Nation" - Three years and counting of Science for the People.

Blog Twitter Facebook
@walter biscardi
by Kylee Peña
Thanks for the illustration! You sure you want to encourage people to stalk you? :)

twitter: @kyl33t

Focusing on post-production, from editing and motion graphics to personal experiences and the psychology of being an editor.


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