More and more employers are finding that social media is an effective way to network. However it is not an excuse to sit at your desk and think that that is all there is to it. Social media can be and is for many an effective way to make friends connections and raise one’s profile. However, it doesn’t replace the need for, or quite frankly, compare to the effectiveness of the face-to-face networking. Let me repeat that social media does not replace the need for face-to-face networking.
As I have often said lawyers are in the personal services business. You can only be so personable via social media. Nothing replaces the face-to-face encounter when it comes to building truly meaningful relationships. At some point you need to take those new “friends” you met on social media and enhance the relationship by face-to-face meetings.
An online article by Dan Schawbel last year in Time’s Business & Money section entitled “Why Face-to-Face Networking Still Trumps Social Networking” remains right on. I particularly liked the quote attributed to Sherry Turkle, an M.I.T professor, on the “sad state of affairs” due to the over reliance on social media. She said “we have sacrificed conversation for mere connection.”
A couple years ago I wrote a post entitled “Networking Requires Getting Off Your Duff!” which I still think is timely. Also, it contains some common sense tips that might help you network face-to-face. As I said at the time the tips are pretty straightforward, but we all need to be reminded occasionally on the kinds of things one needs to do in terms of networking.
Bottom line: don’t let social media replace the true benefits gained though face-to-face meetings.