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Networking through Social Media : A way towards possibilities

June 28, 2012 Leave a comment

What is networking? If asked this question, different people may define it  in various ways. Dictionary shows it as a link , a connection. Wikipeida describes business networking as “a socioeconomic activity by which groups of like-minded businesspeople recognize, create, or act upon business opportunities.”. Basic needs of a Human are food , shelter and clothing as we heard from childhood,  but what we really want is, to be a part of the society, to have relationships and to get recognition. In olden days meeting people, conquering hearts was a challenge in itself because of the distances involved but today the world has shrunk itself to remove all the barriers among people. Now we can connect with almost any one from anywhere.

There was a time when relationships depended on the society they lived in and the parental bonds but with the boundaries removed, we connect with people not just on the basis of societal or geographical ties but out of common interests. Websites like Facebook, twiiter, LInkedin, Google +, all may have difference interface but the main theme remains same, that is connecting people. Most of us now who are even a little comfortable with internet, are atleast present on Facebook and those who want to grow in their respective career paths, are present on Linkedin, a brilliant platform for business and career networking.

But how do they use these mediums to build relationships? Are they looking at facebook only for fun? Are they looking at Linkedin only for business? Well, there is much more to it than just being a connection in someone’s profile. People join various communities and groups on these websites, depending on their interests, an efficient way to connect with, people sharing same passion, people looking for those who can guide them and people who are open to helping others learn.

 I myself have used these two websites extensively for networking, both socially and for business purpose but the aim was to build a nework of people I can rely on. There was a time when facebook and LInkedin were  almost new. not many years back but today they are like my extention that I can’t stay without. In just 2 years, I increased my network from withing a hundred to over 2000. It enables us to just send requests to people whose profiles you find attractive enough to have a business or social relationship, a tool which I used to build my connections. But is adding people enough? Can anyone make use of it? Can people have 10K people in the network, not really remembering most of them and expect some good results? Of course the answer is no. The aim is not to have more coonections but to have more effective connections.

But how do we make connections effective? Key is the interaction..not just on the professional level , like you ask an expert a question, expect an answer or send a request for career guidance or help and expect them to help you out, but it has more dimensions to it. Networking today is not about just creating connections but about making friends. And the success lies in building relationships that matter. It counts when you remember them, you like talking to them and they remember you in the same way. There are various tools available where you can get noticed or follow some one. These are simple, known to almost everyone present and easily acccessible too.

They offer you the opportunity to display your talent or your views in front of the world through blogs and then you can share them with others as well read what others think. Now one may think how writing a blog will build a relation? Well, when some one writes a blog, there is no doubt that he or she wants some one to read, otherwise why would he or she create it online?

Miles Frankin once said “Someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings”

Being aware of the facts, if you read the blogs others create, comment on them, relate with them, understand them and start a conversation related to their blogs, there are high chances that they will respond positively and if you are also a blogger they would definitely want to know more about what you write. People with same interests usually end up with a personal bonding.

Another great way is to join communities or groups and be an active member. Who is an active member? A member who participates in the group in the ways that are offered, which could be a discussion, a survey, latest updates, asking questions, creating stories, commenting etc. Again an efficient way to get noticed, if what you write is liked by some one, or one can relate with it. You can ask people for guidance and most likely, they would be open to interacting and suggesting ways to help you in any way. This creates a bond among a group of people rather than as an individual with other individual and this way you can build effective groups that can grow together professionally or mingle together personally

A direct connection is no doubt the most easy way, yet a difficult way to connect as people whom you personally do not know but want to connect, are little likely to accept one as a contact unless your profile interests them. But once connected, one must not sit idle but start  conversation even if it doesn’t begin with the other person. As long as you want to take it forward, you can take it forward. One can understand the professional as well as personal background of a connection and then become a friend in the long run, once the chord strikes. But how many interactions are required to build a relationship? The answer is not in numbers but in the information. Ask yourself, how much you know about the person? Family ? Professional goals? Personal goals? Personality? Interest? The more you know, the better it is.

Aren’t these ways simple?  But how many of us really make use of the brilliant features that these websites offer to interact with people in various ways?

We may complain that it is time consuming but then even when you go out to your neighbor and talk, you give time. Would you talk only for half an hour every time and leave? Of course not, you most probably will have a lunch or dinner together, a movie or a picnic together. You take time to make friends, and the same is applicable to social and business networking as well. You need to create a bond, online interaction is just the first step. Effective but you can not deny the need to meet in person, which is the most essential step of any relationship. People whom you haven’t met, you are a little diffident and unsure about the trust factor and that is the reason why most online networks and connections collapse. They forget each other in no time and then all the efforts they have put, go down the drain.

Every time you see or meet a person through any medium, it brings an opportunity to learn and create great relationships, provided, you explore it enough to find if that gives you a direction or takes away your dreams. You meet several kinds of people, whether it is in person or through various other mediums and in both ways you can be cheated or mis-guided yet your fear of the medium which cannot be felt physically is more than the one which has more capacity to exploit you being closer and more accessible to them.

The only fear in building relationships online is inability to trust which creates a doubt and stops us from believing the person we are interacting with, forgetting the fact that risk is on both sides, we start to judge , make notions without really exploring the possibilities that can be opened up for us.

The key to building effective social or business relationship is to give chance to others to speak, to ask questions and to believe them and make them believe you as well. Keeping an open mind can bring you a new world of exciting opportunities, trustworthy friends and a great move towards your real goals. Meeting more people is about creating more options for yourself, about opening more doors and learning more to create a wisdom.

Explore the social media, not as a tool to update your friends about your life but also to keep yourself updated about whats going around you.

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