An author wants to set up an interview with me because she’s working on a paper on what can be done through face-to-face networking that can’t be done online.
Here’s what I think:
Most people strongly feel that face-to-face networking is much better than online social networking. A paper that focuses on what can be done through face-to-face networking that can’t be done with on-line social networking will find it hard to say anything that hasn’t been discussed before. If you want to get attention and create value, you can teach people how to effectively blend on-line social networking with their offline social networking.
How can people use online social networking tools to make it easy to identify people they want to get to know, make the initial contact, find common ground, keep in touch, maintain their network, and make introductions?
People have heard a lot about how online social networks are limited and often a waste of time. What they need is guidance on how to use these tools effectively, and how to make it worth the investment of time. As more companies explore telecommuting as a way to cut expenses and reach more globally-distributed talent, people need to learn how to connect and stay connected at work and in life.
Hmm. Let me explore that, because I get a whole lot more done with online social networking than with offline ones, and I find virtual networking to give me better results – and surprisingly good serendipity – than offline networking events.
Why I like online networking investments (blogs, presentations, etc.) more than offline networking investments (networking events, lunch, coffee):
Where offline networking is still useful: hearing from people who don’t share online
What I would recommend to people who are starting out: