I participate actively as an online ‘social networker’. Seems to me there are many benefits – through linkedin, facebook, twitter, blogging.
Interesting piece recently about whether we should blend the personal and the business stuff in social networking activities. There are many reasons to do so – the technology increasingly means people are available to work at anytime from anywhere (good and bad!). Part of being successful in business is building and developing relationships – seems to be some logic to revealing some of the personal stuff.
The web based networks facilitate a level of networking simply not possible without. And yet seems that much of the most effective networking continues to be face to face – or, face to many face. As someone described it to me recently there is that hour in the pub when people seem relaxed, in a heightened state of awareness and the antennae are up for networking. Depending on how long is spent imbibing the quality of the networking may subsequently drop off.
And some people are just more comfortable networking…’the gift of the gab’ as we sometimes describe it.
So long as we see social networking as another channel, another way of networking I think we won’t go wrong. But when people start to substitute wikis, facebook, etc for actual face to face encounters…then they risk losing the plot.