The Intrinsic Value of Online Networks
Have you ever tried to explain why you joined a particular network (like Link to Nashville) to someone who doesn’t know the wonders of the social web? There are a number of reasons why people belong to a health club: like weight loss, increased muscle mass, cardio-vascular benefits, etc. But with a “virtual network,” where you never actually meet your connections, the challenge to explain WHY can be a bit more difficult.
As Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Therefore, it can be difficult to allocate time to “invest” in online social networking. The intangibles – such as quality relationships and personal improvement – cannot be “counted” or measured, but they provide us with valuable ways for us to improve. Those who are in committed relationships know the difficulties of expressing WHY they love their “one,” but they do, all the same.
The “intangibles” of online networking can be equally difficult to explain. Whereas with a health-club membership, we can count the number of pounds or inches lost while seeing others who have been working out with almost religious fervor for decades as specimens of a healthy lifestyle. But the social web has not been around for decades, so we cannot look at someone who has engaged the social networks zealously and say, “Now that man/woman/guy/lady is a picture of good business practices.” The point is that we are the ones who are setting examples after which future generations will model their business practices and habits.
And though we may have difficulty in describing to an “outsider” the benefits of being able to engage in cascading conversations via online social networks, we know that there is intrinsic value to being able to send an email to someone we trust to ask for a recommended photographer/graphic designer/writer, whatever.
The point is this: We need to engage the online social networking scene not only because it’s fun and exciting, but also because the more we expand our horizons, by networking, the more valuable we will be to our company – whatever it is!
How ’bout it?
This entry was posted on February 12, 2008 at 8:56 am and is filed under networking, relationship economy, social networking, social web, The Communications Factors, Web2.0. You can subscribe via RSS 2.0 feed to this post's comments.comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.