Obviously, current MSC students understand this is the “Networking Quarter”, especially those of us in the Leveraging Networks elective. We are currently learning about what networks require for success, how to develop them and with whom to focus on, within a given network. I would venture to guess that for most of us, this information far beyond what we previously knew about managing/creating networks. For me personally, it has been a unique experience where I have learned how to put a name to many of the networking practices I have previously utilized — albeit, not to this level.
Through much of our reading (both in the core course and elective) and having discussions with various people from my father or random businessmen on the golf course, I have come to the realization that many of those of my generation (1980’s babies) are openly wasting valuable resources! Through conversations with many of my friends and peers, I have come to the realization that people on Facebook or LinkedIn or whatever your fancy, are most likely to only connect with your most immediate friends and coworkers and then again only follow these people — thus, leaving out many potential connections that could be valuable down the road. What is the point of limiting your connections to immediate friends? Do you not already talk to them daily? Do you not know the name of their kids and where they live? I would certainly assume you do! So, that begs the question, Why follow them on Facebook?
Now, I am not here saying you shouldn’t include them and track them on social media sites, you definitely should. But, you should spend more time growing your connections and keeping an eye on the progress of those you don’t know as well. This way, you can be better positioned to develop that contact or network with them. Obviously, it isn’t ideal to make connections with people who you simply do not know as it will be of little value to you or those in your network. However, if you make connections in life and follow up on Facebook or linkedIn to help support your relationship by keeping in touch, even if on a shallow level, you provide at least the opportunity down the road.
In closing, we need to recognize that we are the children of the Facebook/social media era and we should possess the tools necessary to utilize the medium of our generation. In fact, it is imperative that we maximize the resources available to us because future generations will have a competitive edge, given that they will be completely immersed in the social media experience at birth.