Social Networking 101, with Maria Granovsky
Episode 100: Social Networking 101, with Maria Granovsky
On the 100th episode of the Ellevate Podcast, we talk to a woman whose eclectic career has led her to become a social networking connoisseur. Maria Granovsky, geneticist, patent litigator and author. As someone who identifies as an introvert, she understands the struggles other introverts go through when it comes to networking. Her experiences have created an opportunity for her to help women network and take charge of their careers. In this episode, Maria tells us how she builds relationships via social media, how to manage your professional vs. personal social media presence and how she is able to be herself in her writing.
00:12 Kristy Wallace: Hello, and welcome to the Ellevate podcast. This is your host, Kristy Wallace, with my co-host, Maricella Herrera.
00:18 Maricella Herrera: Hey Kristy, how's it going?
00:21 KW: It's awesome. It's going great today.
00:23 MH: Happy Women's History Month.
00:24 KW: I know, I know. How do you feel about it being Women's History Month?
00:29 MH: I think every month should be Women's History Month.
00:32 KW: Yes, truth, truth. It should be. And we should also have equal pay, paid leave, and equality all around, huh?
00:44 MH: And unicorns.
00:44 KW: Come on.
00:46 MH: Some day, some day.
00:48 KW: Yes.
00:48 MH: Not the unicorns, but yeah.
00:49 KW: That is what we're working towards. And if anything, Women's History Month is a great way to recognize some of the women that are just doing phenomenal work in the past, today. And Maricella, I just wanna say, you are my female role model.
01:00 MH: Aww, thank you.
01:00 KW: You are. I don't think we recognize as much the impact we have on the other women in our lives.
01:07 MH: Yeah.
01:07 KW: And you have a big impact on mine, so thank you.
01:10 MH: Aww, thank you. Likewise.
01:11 KW: Do you have any special plans for Women's History Month?
01:13 MH: Well, besides the fact that we're doing 30 screenings [chuckle] around the world of Miss Representation in all of our chapters, we have the first ones already and they're going really well.
01:22 KW: What is Miss Representation? You wanna share with our audience a little bit about that film?
01:28 MH: Sure. Yeah, it's a film. It actually came out a few years ago, but it's so relevant still. And it's about how the media represents women in a way that is actually not fair. It's more of the...
01:36 KW: Not fair, not flattering, not realistic.
01:39 MH: It just sucks, okay. [chuckle]
01:41 KW: Yeah, yup.
01:42 MH: Yeah, it's actually a really great documentary. We do at Ellevate for Women's History Month, we've been doing it for a few years, documentary screenings across our chapters of something that really is showcasing the power of women. In this case, this is really focused with interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists, and really showcasing facts and statistics about how women are presented in media. It came out a few years ago, but it's still so timely. It's sad that it's still the case.
02:16 KW: Yeah. But this is a big part of changing it. Certainly, having the screenings, not just for women, but men are invited too. We would love for everyone to partake in this conversation and to advocate for changes in how women and underrepresented populations... I mean, it's not just women misrepresented in media, although that's what this film is explicitly about. But how we can all call for a more equal representation of all people in media, because I don't think we realize how much it permeates our lives, from advertisements, to TV shows, to movies, to articles that we read, pictures that we see online, it's just overwhelming. So it needs to change.
03:00 MH: Yeah, it does. Check out our website, ellevatenetwork.com. That's Ellevate with two L's and look up the screenings. There's probably one near you. We're doing it, as I said, in 30 cities around the world. The one in New York is on March 8th, so a couple of days from now. And that is International Women's Day, so very special. And in fact, this is actually very exciting. We're doing a screening in Nashville. That's our first event in Nashville, also on International Women's Day.
03:36 KW: Yay.
03:36 MH: Yeah.
03:37 KW: That's fantastic. I'm excited. I'm excited about Nashville, and about these screenings. Our guest today, Maria Granovsky, is really interesting. And I just have to read you her description on Twitter. And I'm pulling up Twitter because she is a social media expert, but she helps networking averse professional women build thriving careers they love. She's a geneticist, a patent litigator, and author of Airport-Worthy Legal Thrillers.
04:06 MH: Oh my God.
04:07 KW: Right?
04:07 MH: Yes. Female role model.
04:08 KW: I know. And our conversation was great, really interesting. I was asking her for advice on my social media [chuckle] profile, on what I should share, what I shouldn't, how you combine or not combine personal and professional. She has some really great insights and some funny stories about networking and how important it is, but how hard it can be for some women. And I know you, you've written about that too, right Maricella?
04:37 MH: Right. Yeah, networking averse individuals. Actually, we just did... I just did, the proverbial we. I just did a workshop with one of our members at Ellevate on networking for introverts and extroverts, because I don't know if you know this, but I'm an introvert, a closeted introvert at that, but it's hard. I don't necessarily enjoy networking. Until the moment I realized that networking is just a fancy word for helping other people out.
05:05 KW: What don't you like about networking?
05:07 MH: I feel awkward, I think. And I think it's a learned skill. Like for me, I always say a lot of it is because of my background and where... I'm from El Salvador and it's small and everyone knows each other, and the whole like going to a networking event and just like trying to build those relationships was fake. That's not something we do. So when I came to the US, and that was a big part of business school and a big part of like just the way things work here. And it was kind of a culture shock, I would say. I don't know. I think the breaking the ice is the hard part.
06:09 KW: Yeah, that's really interesting. I hadn't thought about it that way, and I appreciate that you shared that perspective because I don't think that that's something that's talked about enough is some of the cultural differences with networking. And we know, I mean clearly, we work at Ellevate, and we know the power of networking, but it's another barrier, is the cultural differences and feeling comfortable finding the right group to really tap into those benefits.
06:39 MH: Right. And just feeling... I think a big part of it is just finding what works for you. For me, the big things don't work, but I'm happy talking one-on-one with a bunch of people, so.
06:50 KW: Yeah. Awesome. Well, thanks so much. If you haven't, our dear listeners, checked out Maricella's article on networking as an introvert, it's on ellevatenetwork.com. You can search for it. It's really good, give some props where it's due.
07:08 MH: Thank you.
07:08 KW: And I hope you enjoy my conversation with Maria. Lots of great insights. Stick around to the end where we really delve into social media and using it as a tool for your business and your personal growth. We wanna hear from you, so send us a note at email@example.com.
07:35 KW: Thank you for coming to the Ellevate Podcast, excited to have you here. Your career revolves around helping women reach their own career goals. So let's get started by hearing a little bit about your career, and how you got to where you are today?
07:48 Maria Granovsky: Well, thank you. I'm very excited to be here. I've been listening to the podcast religiously, so it's nice to be on it. My own career is eclectic, I would say. I started as a scientist. I got a PhD in Genetics, and I blame old Perry Mason episodes on the next transition because then I went to law school.
08:13 AV: Oh my goodness.
08:16 MG: And so I went to law school, became a lawyer, became a patent litigator. And I've done that for a number of years. And all through my both science and law careers, what I've started noticing more and more is that there is a segment of the population that are very good at what they do, but they are not very good at networking, they are not very good at speaking up, they may be introverted or they may have social anxiety. And I started thinking about the people who are not in the conversation. So the more I thought about it, the more I thought, "You know, there is an issue here." And this is something that I, myself, have an experience with because I had some social anxiety bouts. And through them, I would sign up for networking events, and then I would drive to the networking event, and then I would drive back without even showing up. But throughout all of that experience, I have always been able to create amazing relationships, really great mentors and just a network of really amazing individuals in writing. Be it on Twitter, be it on LinkedIn, be it sending an email to someone. And I thought, "You know, I found a way to get over my silence, in a way, in not being in the conversation." And so that's what I'm doing now. Now, I am trying to teach others how to do the same thing.
09:51 KW: I too was wowed by Perry Mason and all of the lawyer shows. I thought I was destined for law school for my entire life until post-college. Many people advised me against it, actually. But I'm really interested in what you're talking about with regards to networking, and for those in which it doesn't come naturally, or for those in which it's not comfortable. Because it's really important. And I think it's something that's not talked about enough. We can say like, "Network, network, get out there. It's who you know and meet people." But it is really hard. Not only it's hard because it takes a lot of work and intention, but it's hard because it takes personal interaction and connections. And if that's not where you are your most comfortable then it's intentionally putting yourself in some uncomfortable situations on a regular basis. And you... That can turn someone off understandably.
10:53 MG: Right.
10:53 KW: So talk a little bit more about some of the ways that we can build rapport and connections outside of the networking reception.
11:03 MG: So what I have done unconsciously until somebody pointed it out to me, and said, "I've never seen anyone actually build real life relationships on Twitter," but I do, one tweet at a time, is be able to be myself in writing. And when I talk about writing people always assume the big stuff, the books, the articles. I'm not talking about that kind of writing. I'm talking about the daily day-to-day tweet or LinkedIn request, etcetera. The thing that I think made it so much more comfortable for me is that there was time to think, there was time to edit, it was an asynchronous way to communicate, so I didn't expect an immediate response. I wasn't put on the spot to immediately respond back. So it's just the time, it was the luxury of time.
12:00 MG: And it was also the luxury to a certain extent of templating, because you can think about what you want to say and if it looks good, you can adapt that same template to the way you write to other people. And that takes a surprising amount of anxiety out of the communication as well, because now there isn't this feeling... If you don't get a response, then there isn't this last hour of what could I have said differently? Did I offend this person, etcetera? It's, you send something that has gotten a lot of positive responses before, this person decided not to connect for whatever reason, totally entitled to not connect with you, moving on. So, as I said, this for me is something I found incredibly comfortable, just that... And it's not even that the entire relationship then continues in writing, because you do end up on the phone, you end up having drinks with someone, etcetera, but if you have that shared history in writing, that person is no longer a stranger, that's a different conversation. So that's one thing.
13:07 MG: The other thing that I found very helpful for some of my clients is, they started their own networking events. So they called the shots, they invited the people that they want, and they hold it in a place where it's comfortable for them. So again, it's just a matter of feeling a little bit more in control. But the other thing that I wanted to emphasize is that a lot of the power of networking through social media is not about your own content, it's not about how much of a life of a party you are on social media. Because especially these days, it feels like we're all screaming into the void, we're all putting stuff out there, and no one re-tweets, and no one likes, and it's like, "Well, what's the point of this?" If you take somebody else's post and comment on that post, that person will know. So the strength of the networking in social media is being generous. It's finding those people that you wanted to connect with and re-tweeting them or commenting, or interacting with them.
14:18 KW: I appreciate that, that actually resonates a lot with me. Because it's not something that I do. I tend to just go and I'm like, "I like, I like, I like, I like." But there are certain people in my life who actually... And people that I don't see all that often, or don't talk to, or engage with much, but they take the time to write something on my post and it really sticks with me.
14:44 MG: Doesn't it?
14:45 KW: Like it's... You saying that, I'm thinking of Jen, my college roommate, and she does that, and it means a lot to me, it really does. It's probably one of the things that's keeping us close. Just because she takes the time to actually read and to comment.
15:00 MG: So, basic one-on-one communications have evolved, because now I have a whole bunch of people who are on Facebook Messenger, and that's where they live, and I resisted Facebook Messenger forever, but they're not responding to email. So I'm on Facebook messenger for these people. But it's such a fragmentation of our attention in a way, right?
15:20 KW: It is. Yes, I struggled with Facebook Messenger, and with LinkedIn messages, and because I find between text and direct message and Facebook message and LinkedIn, and I've got...
15:35 MG: Email.
15:35 KW: My email and my Slack, and I've got things coming at me from all from different places and I just want it in one place. It's hard to manage all the different channels.
15:46 MG: I wonder if that's the next big startup, who's gonna do that? [chuckle]
15:49 KW: Are we gonna do that together? Are we gonna do that?
15:51 MG: Why not? [chuckle]
15:52 KW: But I think that that's really what makes it a struggle, and it's just too much all over the place. And there's certain things, I think like Hootsuite. Do you use any tools? 'Cause like Hootsuite, one that you're able to kind of integrate a lot of your accounts and see across channels, but it still has some limitations.
16:13 MG: I used to, for what I do, I don't really need to do that. I may go back to that if I become a lot more active in terms of posting. But for me, I think the most important thing is to think about just time blocking. Just get off all of these things for a period of time during the day or else I just can't be doing anything. But there have been a lot of times where I would sit there and go, "Okay, so this person, I need to respond to this person, but where was it? Was it on email, was it on Facebook." Yeah.
16:53 KW: Is there a set matrix we should follow? So, you should post three times a day, re-tweet or share something twice a day, like, check other people's feeds twice a day. Is there a matrix that you follow?
17:10 MG: I don't follow a matrix, primarily because a lot depends on just who I'm following, what I'm doing, etcetera. I mean some people will benefit from that kind of regimen. There is definitely value in the reposting things, certainly on LinkedIn, on Twitter, because it's a running feed, right? And so, if you posted something at 10:00 AM, only a small percentage will see it. And then if you repost it at 3:00, somebody else may see it. And that's the other side of it. You're not spamming people, if you're reposting several times, because it's almost like a running river, right? So it's not the same drop of water that's seeing your material.
17:56 KW: Let's talk about fake news.
17:58 MG: Oh, okay.
18:00 KW: I think particularly as one way of engaging your community is sharing information and news, how do you ensure that what you're sharing is something that won't hurt your reputation, or something that is valid?
18:16 MG: In a professional context, unless you are a political scientist, or you're in that universe, I personally would refrain from the political news of the day, just because it's very inflammatory no matter whose side you're on, and it's very polarizing. And I'm not sure that... Let's use LinkedIn, I'm not sure LinkedIn is the right place for that kind of engagement. That's my own personal view. In terms of making sure that you're sharing something that is not fake news, I think your best indicia of trust is the source that you use. So if it's something like The New York Times, the Washington Post, chances are they've done their homework. Politico, if you wanna go into that arena. If it's something that great Aunt Martha published from some random place that you found on the internet, and there's Hillary Clinton looking like a vampire, I don't know, the chances of it being fake news is a little higher. So, I go with only very trustworthy sources. And in terms of sharing somebody's, for example, tweet etcetera, it's having followed people for a while, seeing who they are, seeing what they do, if they're tweeting within their area of expertise, etcetera, then I would share that.
19:58 KW: What about having multiple accounts, like a personal account, and the professional account?
20:05 MG: For which network?
20:06 KW: Say on Instagram, and I'm Kristy Wallace, Ellevate, and Kristy Wallace, mom of three who lives in Brooklyn. And that's two different types of content and connections that I want to get out there. One account may be private, one may be open to the public. Do you recommend that people mix personal and professional in one account, do you keep them separate? Is there a place for one platform that's better for personal, and one that's better for professional?
20:38 MG: I tend to be... I'm a lawyer by training, which means that I'm very risk averse, which means that... And also as lawyers, there's a very specific issue about what it is that you're putting out there on social media. So, I've always been very leery about how much of your personal information, and how much personal stuff you're putting out. I hate to give that answer, but it really depends. It depends on your job, it depends on how separate your brands are, etcetera. I don't see anything wrong with including a little bit of the personnel in your professional persona, simply because it's humanizes you. For example, if your whole thing is on, I don't know, business let's say, and ever so often you tweet a picture of a kitten, that's the kind of thing.
21:41 AV: Sure.
21:41 MG: So for me, this summer I grew tomatoes on my balcony, and so I would post pictures of my tomatoes. That's how personal I would get. And so I think for anyone who's trying to build a professional network, that's probably the level you want to be at.
22:04 AV: S2: Got it. And then I have one other question, I'm just... You're a lawyer, so you can take me shooting questions at you, but...
22:12 MG: No, usually I'm the one asking the questions.
22:15 KW: I'm having fun here. Handling... So, this happens to me, I think particularly because the space I'm in, which is gender quality, and there's some haters out there. How do you recommend dealing with the haters? So, people who disagree with... Don't believe that there's a gender pay gap, or don't believe that women should be in politics. Or don't share those same views, and are very vocal to you on social media about their opposition of those views.
22:49 MG: If they are threatening, or if they cross a certain line, I would certainly report them, on a place like Quora I would block them. You could walk them on other platforms as well. I would not engage with anyone who's not respectful, and I would not feed that beast, because that's really what is happening. They are feeding... You can't change their mind. This is not a conversation they're willing to have, if we're talking about the haters. If we're talking about people who may have slightly different opinions, and they come in with some reasoned arguments, and you can have a debate, I'm all for that. But if it's just this sort of venom, I definitely would not engage.
23:40 KW: Okay. What's next for you, what other big challenges are you tackling? You've been doing quite a bit.
23:48 MG: I've developed a workshop in which I teach this stuff, and I am really looking forward to taking it to corporate settings and to organizations and to just venues where a lot of people can benefit from that information and I'm really excited about it.
24:15 KW: Alright. Well, one last question for you. And this is something that, since I was doing some research into you, really stood out as a burning question I needed to ask, which is; how did you wind up living in a convent?
24:32 MG: So yeah. We had in law school, we had a summer semester in Florence, and a friend suggested that there was this convent that has rooms. And a few months before I had traveled through Spain, where there are a lot of religious orders that have a hotel associated with them, so it's a separate hotel with a restaurant, it's a very normal set-up for a hotel. And I thought that's what I was getting, and then I got to Florence, and I realized, "Oh no, no, no. We are going up to the seventh floor to a nun's cell." [chuckle] And there are no elevators. It's 105 stairs. I still remember. And so if you forgot something upstairs, it stayed upstairs. And dinner was from 7:00-8:00, and if you didn't make it from 7:00-8:00, you weren't eating, or you had to bring stuff from outside. So I ended up having the monastic life. Yeah. And curfew.
25:38 KW: How long did you live there? Oh, and a curfew.
25:40 MG: And a curfew of midnight. And my friend and I have had quite a few nights where we were having drinks with fellow students, and then we were hoofing it to make it back by curfew.
25:51 MG: And some of the nuns would stay up for us a little bit longer and some wouldn't. So we stayed on couches a few times.
25:57 KW: Okay. So yeah, you know who the fun ones were.
26:04 KW: Alright. Well, thanks so was joining us on the Ellevate podcast today, this has been great.
26:08 MG: This was a real pleasure, thank you for having me.
26:14 KW: Thanks so much for listening to Ellevate. If you like what you hear, help a girl out. Subscribe to the Ellevate Podcast on iTunes, give us five stars and share your review, also don't forget to follow us on Twitter @EllevateNTWK, that's Ellevate Network, and become a member, you can learn all about membership and all the great things that Ellevate Network is doing at our website, www.ellevatenetwork.com, that's E-L-L-E-V-A-T-E network.com. And special thanks to our producer, Katharine Heller, she rocks. And to our voiceover artist, Rachel Griesinger. Thanks so much and join us next week.
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