Networking Online

The word networking has taken on a whole new dimension during the last decade. Previously a person developed a network after prolonged interactions with a set of people. This network consisted of mainly his colleagues, friends and acquaintances. The study of such social networks was a mainstay of ‘Sociology’, ‘Social Psychology’ etc,. Nowadays however social networking has become synonymous with online social activity on social networking platforms like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Myspace and many more.

The process of befriending people through many interactions has radically transformed. It has shifted to a stage where two parties after a single meeting befriend each other on a social networking website and then continue their interactions online. Thanks to such platforms, sharing information between like-minded individuals has become easier than ever before. Distance was a huge barrier for maintaining relationships with people. Pen-pals did exist but the level to which interactions could occur was limited by the postal service and time taken to receive and send messages. All this has now changed with the advent of the internet and specifically the social media networks. This points to a scenario in the near future where every individual will be capable of expanding his/her network to a level which can’t be imagined.

This means that every person will have access to more information about his network and it would be easy to get in touch with someone, required for a specific activity. However we must understand that social media platforms are just a tool to facilitate networking. A person’s network is still defined by the relationship he shares with each member in his network. Consider a situation where in a person ‘X’ contacts two people ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ for help regarding a certain task. The relationship X shares with Y & Z will define the level of help he would receive from them. Though Y & Z are connected to X by his network, Y might consider X as an acquaintance and Z might consider X as a really close friend. This would in turn define the nature of help received from each of them.

To conclude it’s more important to nurture and maintain relationships than single-mindedly increasing one’s network.

“The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves, continually put the other person’s needs ahead of their own.”

-Bob Burg

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About Debapratim Purkayastha

Associate Dean at IBS Hyderabad. Award-winning and best-selling author of case studies in Management, Educator and Trainer. Over 14 years’ teaching, research and industry experience. Teaching Business Strategy at IBS Hyderabad. Consulting Editor of 'Case Folio', a refereed journal dedicated to case studies in management. Won case method awards and recognition from the Academy of Management (AOM), Association of MBAs (AMBA), The Central and Eastern European Management Development Association (CEEMAN), European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), Emerald Group Publishing, North American Case Research Association (NACRA), oikos International, The Case Centre (formerly European Case Clearing House), John Molson School of Business (University of Concordia, Canada), AESE Business School (Portugal), etc. Many cases published in global editions of textbooks. Conducted a number of case method workshops in India and abroad. Winner of the 'Outstanding Contribution to the Case Method' award from the UK-based The Case Centre and listed among the centre's top bestselling authors for the past 40 years. Follow on Twitter: @dpurkayastha

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