Make me less of an academic island!
May 16, 2012 6:49 AM Subscribe
I'm a PhD student, and I'd like to do more academic networking over email. How does this work, and what should the emails sound like?
posted by anonymous to Education (14 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
As an introvert, I hate the idea of networking; but I'm also coming to realize that this is something people do, and that in fact my research/job prospects could be a lot better if I did more work building professional connections. Unfortunately, most of these would have to be email connections, and it feels so inherently weird to me to randomly contact some barely-known person that my draft emails end up collapsing under the sheer weight of all the apologetic boilerplate ("I'm so sorry to write out of the blue like this... you're doubtless very busy, but... I got your email from the website; haven't been stalking you, honest...").
Since obviously my own very limited social instincts don't suffice here, I was wondering whether anybody might be willing to clue me in on (a) what these emails are really supposed to sound like when normal people write them, and (b) when it is or isn't OK to send messages of this sort.
In particular, I'd love some hints for approaching the following situations:
-- Senior scholar I don't know, some 3rd party says, "Oh, you should email X."
-- Someone I spoke with briefly at a conference or talk, never formally exchanged info.
-- Someone whose awesome book or article I have read and admire, but who doesn't know me from Adam and has no common connections whatsoever.
Additional research directions (Books? forums?) would also be most welcome. Thanks so much!
(Yes, I know I should be able to ask my advisor about this. That's a whole other AskMe. :( )