Professional networking is critical to many people, including me. I have established a smaller more focused list of people than some others but these professional relationships run deep and in my business, that is more important than sheer numbers. I attend a half dozen in person conferences every year and in some cases I see the same faces at each event and at others I will see people only once or twice. But all of these relationships are now stronger due to social networking. Video conferencing, communicating via Facebook, Twitter or other means helps to keep those relationships fresh and allows us to share information more freely and in a timely fashion. Currently, I would argue that both in person and social networking are very important.
Who knows exactly what the future will bring? However, I think it holds a great deal of promise. I initially thought that those in person face to face contacts could not possibly be replaced but now I am not so sure. Technology is amazing and maybe we will have a very similar look and feel via holograms or some other technology we have not heard of yet. It is clear, however, that once we reach that point we will be able to reach a much larger audience. My own network bothers me at times because we meet only in North America and most participants are older white men with a few women present, as well. In my business there is a very real need to network and share with fellow professionals around the world and to mentor and assist people developing their skills in third world countries. This is my social networking hope for the future. I hope that we can embrace technology and make it so that we can truly “reach out” to others around the globe so that they can participate in our conferences, to learn and experience what we benefit from and once we do that, the world will be a more equitable place.