Two women sat at my table discussing an in-person professional networking group they wanted to create. They talked of existing groups being too focused on business referrals and immediate sales, but not enough on long-term connections.
When the pair asked my opinion, I suggested Twitter communities as models. People follow others and engage because they want to, not because they have to. There’s a strategic nature to online connections, and they can be long term. Professionals benefit in many ways other than referrals or sales.
But there are other aspects to Twitter communities, and I offered a few of these to the pair. In the online communities there’s a spirit of helpfulness. They should foster that spirit in their in-person group so competition takes a back seat to cooperation. Twitter communities are also educational. People learn informally and share freely.
Then I brought up one more aspect of an online community: its members are there when you need them, especially with mobile technology. The women decided they needed to incorporate all these aspects into their in-person group, using online connections for business relationships and using in-person meetings to focus more on education and personal relationships. Now that’s a group I’d love to join. Too bad it’s going to be exclusively for women.
Thanks for reading! @tomspiglanin
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