Social media is all the rage. So is face-to-face networking. And in both cases, it’s the network that’s critical. Whether online or in person, your network is your net worth (to use what’s becoming an increasingly common phrase*). Here are a few pertinent proof points:
- On the research side, a new report by Aberdeen Group finds that 68% of companies demonstrating marketing excellence plan to increase their 2009 marketing budgets for social media, reports BtoB magazine.
- Still in the quantitative realm, the March 26 meeting of the Social Media Club of Chicago filled 200 attendee slots in 11 hours.
- In the more or less qualitative-intuitive realm, every network meeting Christina and I have attended since the beginning of the year has been packed.
Danah Boyd, a researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, provided a series of great answers in her recent talk given Feb. 26 at Microsoft Research Tech Fest. The talk gave an excellent history and analysis of social media, social networking, and Web 2.0. Ms. Boyd is particularly good in analyzing the network effects of social media for technologists, business people, and individuals. I will make no attempt to summarize and leave it to you to read Social Media is Here to Stay . . . Now What? in its entirety. Indeed, a nice networking example all its own—especially for anyone interested in communications, marketing, media, or other—is I the way I learned of it. I received a link through David Armano’s Twitter feed. Finding out about interesting articles is one of the things I like the most about Twitter and, to me, the essence of microblogging. (Follow me on Twitter @collincanright.) Information sharing aside, the best uses of social media are to set up in-person meetings and conversations. We attend numerous networking events (some small, some large, some breakfasts, some lunches, surprisingly few cocktail hours) and find it a critical part of our system for sales, education, and just plain staying in touch with what’s going on around us. Clients are always asking Christina, "Who do you network with? What events do you attend?" Given that these requests have increased in recent months, we thought we should include this information in our newsletter—and may add to it as time goes on. Networking is a science that, applied online and in-person, delivers exponential results. Here are the events we attend regularly:
- Business Marketing Association Chicago has informative breakfasts and monthly luncheons.
- The Chicago Convergence, a new organization promoting Chicago as a global center for change and innovation, with an emphasis on convergence in media and technology.
- The Executives’ Club of Chicago, which offers three to four different events a month-some on women’s leadership, some for entrepreneurs.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Enterprise Forum Chicago has programs that are newsworthy, with lively panel discussions, and a focus on innovation and technology.
- Samurai Executive Networking Group, a unique by-invitation-only model, has been another favorite, and has yielded some high-quality contacts.
- The Wright Leadership Institute, our overall home network for leadership and sales training, including networking training. For a PDF, click here.
*I would very much like to know the origin of this phrase—its Google search brings up some 1,550 listings. -Collin and Christina