Networking. We all do it in both our professional and personal lives. Teenagers start building networks in high school that carry on to their expanded network in college. Members of our networks come and go, but the network remains…
and let’s face it, we all like to play matchmaker.
Back in the ’80s when I first entered the working world, happy hour was the place to network. Yuppies congregated at fern bars, trading business cards, sampling the free food, and drinking Bartles and James or lite beer (what a concept!). We prided ourselves on the thickness of our filofaxes; after all, the more networking we did, the more business cards we collected, the bigger the status gained when we dropped our ten pound filofax on our desk Monday morning.
These days it’s meetups and tweetups or Facebook friends and Twitter followers. The same principles apply: share your talents, make those connections, so in the future, when you’re asked for a contact, you can open up that Rolodex – you know you still have one – and say, “I gotta guy for that” … even if that guy is female.
For example, recently my son’s Powerbook display started acting up. It’s almost 5 years old, but I want to keep it going at least until his sister goes to college so she can pass down her Macbook Pro and upgrade at the college student rate (while not networking, we still have to work the angle). I tweeted a request for any Mac repair guys in my area knowing that Mac repair outside an Apple store is a rare occurrence.
Once again, @funkychunks came through for me. At the beginning of the year, she found a new hairdresser for me – Marta, Cutting Crew, Sea Girt, another member of the sisterhood of the peroxide stripe – so I trusted @funkychunks’ judgement. Turns out @soylady, who runs Things that Make Scents in Manasquan – yes, a block away from my kids’ orthodontist, small world, and how did I MISS those delicious scents all these years I’ve been making monthly visits to ortholand – well, she has a husband who is a whiz at Mac repair.
Goes without saying, the Powerbook is back in action. Networking at its best!
Yet I was a little taken aback when a networking event organized on LinkedIn advertised “speed networking”. Two minutes to make a connection? Call me old fashioned, but even the MTV generation could sit still for 3 (I know, I’m dating myself again). I asked a few friends what they thought of this speed networking concept; didn’t sound like quality time to any of them.
Here’s the beauty of 21st century networking: the discussion associated with this event prompted a few responses about speed networking, all positive. Maybe I’m writing this off too quickly, I thought as I read the comments on the LinkedIn thread. A few members of that group who attended a tweetup in Red Bank last week pointed out how crowded it was, difficult to network, and it lacked structure. Made me wonder if a little structure might not help these fledgling attempts to take online social networking into real life. After all, 140 characters is nothing but serious structure!
So I registered for the event. If you want to check it out, go to here. Don’t forget to introduce yourself and let me know what you think of this format! You never know, next time I say, “I gotta a guy”, it might be you!