|Cryptozoology, BioForteana, Zoological Oddities, Unusual Natural History||StrangeArk blog|
Networking is a term used in forming personal or business relationships. You will want to get in touch with any cryptid investigators in your area. Others to contact are police departments, wildlife officers, historians, and naturalists. You may wish to send a brief outline of what you are looking for and ask that they call or write to you if they find anything pertinent.
When dealing with other investigators, be friendly and polite. Most are excellent researchers, and you can benefit from your association with them. They may be willing to trade information, or suggest certain locations to investigate.
After you've been investigating for a while, you may meet reporters interested in writing about you. A well-written article can be beneficial, as it can attract the attention of new witnesses. Just be sure that the reporter has all the facts straight (for example, "Bigfoot" is NOT synonymous with "Yeti"), and that most of the article reports on what you are looking for. If other investigators see that the article is merely self-promotion, they may believe that you are only investigating for the publicity, and are not really serious about your work. Remember that the reporter's business is to create an interesting story. The story may focus on the more sensational accounts without regard to context. It certainly isn't ethical to ask to see the article before it is published, but do some research on your own before agreeing to an interview. Look up articles written by the reporter to determine whether or not they are fair to the subjects.
An advanced form of networking is available to those who have access to the technology: a computer, a modem, and an Internet service. Websites and email discussion lists cover an incredible range of subjects. If you get the chance, review a few with subjects covering cryptozoology, natural history, wildlife, and folklore. These allow you to "meet" others who may be able to answer your questions or provide you with some interesting data. As with all contacts, be polite. It's easy to get into arguments and "flaming," but that's usually non-productive.
If you are trying to locate addresses for a "postal blitz" (I occasionally do this in an effort to get new leads), and have a specific area in mind, there are now numerous online directories with means of locating residents on certain streets.