#Womentofollow on Twitter — and the value of forcing yourself to go to networking events

This week I was honored to be profiled by journalist Rose Horowitz for her super-inspiring #Womentofollow Twitter series

 Rose published our interview in a  Twitter thread

Rose published our interview in a Twitter thread

Rose started #Womentofollow after reading a study published earlier this summer that men retweet and follow more men on Twitter — 62 percent of male journalists in Washington follow other male journalists; more disturbingly, women journalists also follow more men than women (also 62 percent). 

Booooo. 

So she took matters into her own hands, and #Womentofollow was born.

Let this be a reminder to all of us that we all have the power to be agents of change.

And if you're active on Twitter, be sure to search for #womentofollow to, well, find women to follow — and add your own nominations. 

Let this story also be a reminder that dragging ourselves to networking events can really pay off.

Because it was at an Encore happy hour a few weeks back that I met Steffen Kaplan, Ruth Rathblott, and Tami McLaughlin, all of whom immediately said, "YOU MUST MEET ROSE." (For some reason they thought a champion of women's stories and a champion of gender parity on social media should know each other...).

And yet, we may not have come to know each other, if I hadn't overcome lethargy (ah, insidious lethargy) and found the nerve to go to this happy hour. I knew only one person going in, a friend of a friend, and our relationship consisted of having had a very nice lunch meeting once. (Fortunately, one lunch with Marci Alboher is enough to make you want to attend the happy hour she invites you to!)

 A photo by Steffen Kaplan of some of the people at the Encore happy hour I attended. Front row, L-R: Steffen, Marci Alboher, Lindsey Pollak and Elena Deutsch. 2nd row: Alisa Cohn, Dorie Clark, Tami McLaughlin. Back row: Me, Ruth Rathblott. 

A photo by Steffen Kaplan of some of the people at the Encore happy hour I attended. Front row, L-R: Steffen, Marci Alboher, Lindsey Pollak and Elena Deutsch. 2nd row: Alisa Cohn, Dorie Clark, Tami McLaughlin. Back row: Me, Ruth Rathblott. 

Hanging out with strangers may sound terrifying to you. But here's the thing: people don't bite. Worst case, you stand awkwardly checking your phone, drink a glass of something, and go home. Best case? You luck out and meet an incredibly warm, interesting group of friends ready to adopt you and introduce you to relevant people in their world. (Incidentally, Steffen, Ruth and Tami all met at yet another networking event: Sree Sreenivassan's annual social media weekend.)

You know what can help give you the courage to go to events like these? 

Knowing your story. (You knew I was going to say that.)

When you have your one sentence story, or tag line, ready to go as soon as people ask that dreaded question," So, what do you do?"...it changes everything. You feel prepared. You feel confident. And you feel seen, because that sentence? It really captures you. It's not just a job title. It's a story about who you are, what you do, and what you stand for in this world. 

Rose and I connected on Twitter and set up time to chat by phone. That chat turned into her interviewing me, and two days later, the profile is up on Twitter and being retweeted widely. 

None of this would have happened if I'd stayed home.

The moral of this story: If you have big goals, you need to put yourself out there, i.e., don't stay home. Also, follow more women on Twitter — lots more.  We need more women's voices and perspectives in our social media feeds (and, incidentally, in every other medium).