I want to go beyond what he says and look deeper into what causes the debate between the different types of networking. Are there different types of networking at all?
The number one question I get from audiences when I teach my networking seminars is about social on-line networking. While the number of people who have accounts with LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking / media communities are large, few who have these accounts are actually heavy users. That combined with the fact that the "large" numbers of those who sign up for such services are still "small" numbers compared to the general population leaves a wide chasm of curiosity.
Some people mistakenly think (or hope) that these popular social on-line networking tools replace "networking" in the conventional sense of the word. The truth is there is no competition of online networking and face-to-face networking. They are one in the same in purpose and outcome. The problem lies in the definition of the word networking. Too many people have a preconceived notion that "networking" is in of itself attending a business oriented social event and trading business cards (that is just a part of it). Thus people who are more introverted hate the process, and allow their dislike of this one activity to discolor the whole concept of networking.
There are bloggers, business professionals, authors and professional speakers who regularly state "I Hate Networking", and go condemn the whole process. They rally those who are not comfortable in social situations, or those who do not participate in on-line internet based communities to join them in their anti-networking debates. Yet they miss the mark and create a false sense of different types of networking.
The real definition of networking (according to Dictionary.com) is:
"a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest"
That says NOTHING about drinking free beer, wearing a nametag, and making small talk with copier salesmen. It speaks nothing of devoting time to create an on-line presence that allows others to identify with you via the digital world. Thus, the whole debate is twisted by a mis-understanding of what is the meaning of "networking".
Who could hate having a supportive system of sharing information and services among those with whom you have a common interest? Does the group need to be in the same room eating from a cheese tray and crudités? Nope. Must someone share a connection on LinkedIn or even know how to Twitter to be part of a network? Nada.
Networking is not something you go "do" when you have free time or the speaker at an event sounds interesting. Instead it is part of a lifestyle that allows you to discover the best in other people and create mutually beneficial friendships that lead to more success for everyone. This can be obtained through any variety of activities, and should not be limited to any one type of social undertaking.
A mixed approach to making real connections with other people is your bullet train to success:
Attend events. Create an on-line presence. Send notes and emails to people. Write industry specific articles. Introduce people to each other. Do amazing work and provide exemplary customer service. Host your own gatherings. Forward useful articles and information. Live your life with consistent character. Read books, blogs, magazines on a wide array of topics. Celebrate diversity. Join organizations. Lead organizations. Become informed about social on-line networking tools. Find a mentor. Be a mentor. Have a positive attitude. Help others discover and reach their goals. Share information.
Have A Great Day.