Freelance Writing

Connecting the Dots – Face to Face Networking in a Digital Age

I don’t know about you, but I joined Facebook to connect with friends old and new; Twitter to get byte sized news tidbits about the goings on around me; and LinkedIn to support my professional endeavors. Now, here’s the thing, as I truly commit to building my business, I’ve discovered that not one of my prospective or current clients came through any of the three vehicles listed above. Face-to-face meetings, yes. E-mails and phone calls, yes. But, social media? No.

I see the possibility in everyone I meet. I met my most recent client at an art festival in a small-town in Southern Florida. She heard Matt play his music and asked if he’d play at a physician’s reception she was hosting. He did, I tagged along, and I began reading the company’s brochures. As the reception came to a close, I mentioned to her I wrote grants, intending at the time, I met help the company whose reception we were attending. A few month’s later, I received an e-mail, her mother had begun a nonprofit foundation and they need a grantwriter. We met February 2015 and I’ve been with the foundation since October.

Over the last couple of years, connections have been made through friends of friends, talking to EVERYONE, and surprisingly, Craigslist. Caveat: Craigslist is kind of like looking for a diamond at a flea market. It can be done, but it takes a lot of time and patience.

It was a visit with a friend, just a few days ago, that made me begin thinking about how we make our connections in our modern digital age. She mentioned she and her fiancé wanted to, down the road, purchase housing in various locations they liked to travel to, and when they weren’t traveling, to offer them through AirBnB. Great idea, why don’t you start in Prague — where she and I met and later she and her fiancé — and visit with this person who’s a commercial realtor or this person who rents out apartments for a living. We both know these people, we met them on our weekly walks/runs or at our weekly meetings for expats. We met them in person. We know them and they know us. When I mentioned them, she said, “You’re a great networker”. It’s funny, I don’t even talk that much, but I do listen and I do ask questions. What’s that saying about being given two ears and one mouth?

And in Matt’s world, I still find it hilariously ironic that he’s got a website, a blog, an online shop from which to download, a facebook artist page, and a Twitter account and so when people ask if he’s online, we say “yes”. They ask for a business card, which we give out, and with all the online ways to get music, they either e-mail us for a physical CD or if ordering through our online shop, will pay an additional $2.50 to have a physical CD mailed to them.

Social media was meant to bring us together and I guess it did in a way. But, more and more I’m seeing groups who meet online, share events to meet offline.

My conclusion is this: with all the online presence we have at our fingertips, we still crave the person to person connection.

That’s just my two cents. What do you think?

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