As we railed against companies who block access to social networking sites, it reminded me of the people on the other side of the equation–those who have access to these tools and don’t bother to use them. What a wasted opportunity. I have even gotten to the point where I have a bias against those who aren’t on LinkedIn because the value seems to obvious to me that I can’t comprehend why you wouldn’t be out there.
Lately, with all the layoffs, I think there are a lot of people who are suddenly finding out how important it is to have a strong network of personal and professinoal connections. I’m not sure why this is so difficult for some many people to see, but it has always seemed obvious to me that the more people you know, the more resources you have available to you. The hard truth that some people are learning right now is that it’s much easier to network when you don’t need something from someone (like a job).
And, it’s easier to build a network now than ever in history thanks to tools like LinkedIn and Ning. Every person knows people and these online tools allow you to connect to them and to keep in touch with them. If there was one lesson that I could share with people that I think would have the greatest impact in their life, it would be that “who you know makes all the difference.”
While I empathize with the people out there looking for a job right now who just realized the importance of networking, they are already behind the eight ball. It’s the people sitting around watching this happen that need to get in gear and start networking like their life depended on it. Those connections that they make now might just be the source to their next job and livelihood if their job were to go away tomorrow.