Andrea Learned

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On Business Before Social Networks

After a recent first-time phone call with yet another incredible person met through Twitter connections, and given all the shared interests and collaboration ideas that bubbled up in that call, I had to reflect: How did we function as business leaders before social networks?

The answer: Much less efficiently and with much less personal enjoyment and professional reward.

So, what was that like again, before we had this wonderful possibility at our fingertips?

  • Relationship and trust building took many more years of scheduled and re-scheduled phone calls and random conference meet-ups.
  • We rarely met people outside our usual, industry circles and we had to eat a lot of rubber chicken dinners when we did.
  • We rarely learned of common issues or concerns in time to see the collaborative possibilities.
  • We were isolated in our daily/office bubbles, missing new information from vast sources that could spur bigger thinking.
  • We had very little chance to learn from one another, let alone learn cross sector or cross industry.
  • We had less opportunity to come across and get to know writers as fellow smart business thinkers, long in advance of a story pitch.
  • It took years, if not decades, to build a personal platform or become known more broadly than your own backyard for your expertise.
  • We did not have the friends, partners or social capital for emergencies or other key periods of need.

This list goes on.

If you’ve long since experienced the fun and power of being actively on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or another network, you know many more elements of business-doing that have changed for the better because of social networking.  But, if you aren’t already “socially engaged” as a business leader, all the above hindrances to using this, …well,… not-so secret power remain.

The time to get over whatever it is that is holding you back is now.