A few weeks back I attended a high school class reunion. It has been about 15 years since the last one I attended.
I arrived after having looked through my high school yearbook, checking on a directory to see who from my class lived near or far. Needless to say, I didn’t recognize everyone. What did help is Facebook. I was able to be in contact with several of my classmates over the past few years, so recognition of those people came pretty easily.
After the reunion, I looked up a few people with whom I was able to spend a few minutes speaking on LinkedIn to connect there. I am sure I will eventually look for others as time permits.
The whole point of this article is this:
- Social media did not exist when I was in school. For that matter, neither did the internet, and computers were in their infancy.
- Networking meant shaking a lot of hands and making a bunch of phone calls.
- Your network is broader than you think.
How will you stay connected with all of those people, especially some with whom you may have lost contact? Using social media is probably one of the easiest answers. If you are trying to reach a particular person, look at your network to see how you might be connected to them. When I teach LinkedIn my adage is;
“It’s not about who you know, but who they know.”
Being able to leverage your network to your advantage is, what I feel, the entire purpose of social media. Get connected, build relationships, share useful information, pay it forward, and don’t over-sell.
Remember the theory of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? It was originally created in 1929 and popularized in 1990 and has spurred things like the Bacon foundation at sixdegrees.org and the six degrees of the Dali Lama. If you aren’t familar, the theory says that you are connected by six steps to every person in the world. I think that with social media, the gap will decrease tremendously. If you need to learn how to close the gap on social media, give me a jingle.