Many thanks to Phil and to Matt for encouraging me to check out Ryze. After just a couple weeks of experimenting, I can say that it works – and already I’m surprised to report reestablishing a correspondence that lapsed ten years ago.
I set up my page on Ryze two weeks ago, and several people signed my guestbook to welcome me aboard. (One of the things Ryze does well is to foster a sense of community – and members are encouraged to welcome new members by signing guestbooks.) After getting comfortable with how things worked, I started poking around. I hit Phil’s page after he signed my guestbook, and randomly clicked on a name of a user who had signed Phil’s guestbook.
While looking at that guy’s page, a name lept out at me: Jock Gill. There aren’t too many Jock Gill’s in the world (at least one would think), so I clicked on over – sure enough, it’s the same guy. Jock ran the first U.S. Presidential campaign on the Internet – back in 1991. I was one of the e-mail volunteers – we would regularly receive e-mail from Jock’s Compuserve account (email@example.com – I still remember it, many years later; it’s dead now) and our job was to ensure that the message got out to press, campus organizers and local party supporters. It was low-tech by today’s standards, but it was nothing short of revolutionary at the time.
In any event, I dropped Jock a note and we’re now back in touch. This is exactly what Ryze’s supporters crow about – the ability to network with colleagues, establish connections, reestablish dormant correspondence, and identify new opportunities. Tellingly, two people have found me through Ryze in their job searches – one to find out if I knew anyone at an old company, one to see if I could put a good word in for her at my current company.
I’m impressed. I’ve also connected with a number of bloggers who I’ve come to know – Terry, Ross, Jim, David, Martin, Lilia – which has been a great way to leverage existing connections for more effective networking.