This week, a group of over 80 bloggers gathered in NYC, from all over the United States and a number of countries around the world (map). There were no keynotes, no workshops, no educational events. We gathered to…socialize. Blogger Social ’08.
Ten years ago, it never would have – or could have – happened. But through blogging, e-mail, instant messaging, and technology-enabled collaboration, this remarkable group of marketing bloggers “found” each other and began to collaborate. We’ve written one book together (Age of Conversation) and are about to start on the next volume (with 275 authors this time!) Some of us had met face-to-face in various local meetups, but there was a groundswell of desire, for those who had gotten to “know” each other electronically so well, to actually have a meeting where we could get better acquainted face-to-face.
So we shared meals, meet-ups, book signings, drinks, and a boat ride together. Not much sleep, but an incredible amount of socializing with a very diverse, high-quality, talented group of fun people.
One of the attendees called it a preunion. Apt name, that! And it did feel like a reunion – people hugging and talking and deepening friendships that had started through the power of the network. Shared interests leading to shared sympathies leading to deeper levels of shared life.
Some of these bloggers have undergone tragedies such as cancer, or the death of a loved one, and the virtual community rapidly rallied around these folks to provide support, donations, and other tangible help. A young man in Oman embraced by new friends worldwide. A breast cancer sufferer around whom an entire movement (the Frozen Peas Fund) coalesced. A dynamic lady who was surrounded by love and care when her mother passed away.
For some, technology-enabled networking seems cold and austere. But for this creative and energetic group, blogging and collaborating and ooVoo’ing and Twittering have led to something far richer. Warm, human relationships. Shared interests, shared tables, shared life.
The vast majority of my professional life centers around pharmaceutical sales training, and I thoroughly enjoy the community and network growing here. However, I am, at heart, a marketing/branding/communications guy, and I’ve also cultivated a marketing blog and a network in that world, which led to collaborative ventures up to and including Blogger Social. And I have no doubt that the connections in one world will lead to helpful opportunities in the other. Because networking and making connections is the new black when it comes to professional growth.
Are you starting to use the incredible tools that are available? Are you on LinkedIn, for instance, or Facebook? Are you finding out about professional meetups that might build your pool of connections? Are you creating your own community of shared interests? It’s not a bad insurance policy in times of unexpected layoffs, and the enrichment of meeting new people is a great reward in and of itself!
I’m committed to serving my clients and colleagues in this community by building a wide and deep network. The testimonials thus far show that it’s working. The Impactiviti Job Board has grown out of this network-building, trying to help people and companies find new talent and new positions. I’d encourage you to take steps to build a broad network of people who will accompany you along the way – even if you’re a native introvert for whom this is out of the comfort zone (voice of experience here). The benefits can be amazing…
(Photo Credit: Matt Dickman)