I am curious about the history of networking. OK, perhaps that sounds ridiculous. It seems like the more people started to get online, the more that word networking was used. I was twenty years old when I got online in 1993 so I don’t have a lot of historical perspective. Maybe I’m wrong? Or maybe it’s where I grew up. Living in a rural area in Nebraska, no one used the word “networking.” People helped each other out — it was just what you did. I’ve given up on most of the online networking websites because the interactions seemed so artificial. For a while I organized Ryze’s networking events in Boston but again, it always seemed like a lot of the interactions I observed were formulaic and contrived.

It seems straightforwad to me: be a decent human and help people out because it’s the right thing to do not because you can get a favor in return some day. Obviously you can’t spend your entire day helping other people so there needs to be balance. Before networking websites were around, I hosted a lot of gatherings and helped make connections: jobs, dates, friendships, etc. I would hear from a lot of people about how amazed they were that I could help people out so effortlessly and could remember someone at the right time/opportunity. Maybe I’m being so judgemental of the word “networking” because I don’t see how it’s a big deal. Is it really not that easy to think beyond yourself?

UPDATE: I’m not confused. This was more of a rant if anything. :)

One Reply to “Networkingapalooza”

  1. I think that part of the reason networking has become such a hot topic is because for the first time when the internet came about we had a great way to understand how social interactions work. It’s such a good metaphor for so many things and until then it was hard to really grasp just what a network was. At least that’s my take.

    As for the rise of social networking sites, I think you might enjoy this entry I wrote a while about how social networking shouldn’t be a primary activity.

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