Disclaimer: For the techies in the bunch, I will not be talking LAN or WAN or otherwise. Sorry. This post will be focused on another sort of network — your personal one.
Nearly a decade ago I was the president of the board for a non-profit, professional association. During my tenure on the board, I realized that there were really only two primary functions of the organization from the members’ perspective — education in the profession, and networking. I never much liked the “networking” piece of it, to tell the truth. For an introvert it always felt uncomfortable and awkward, but somehow, necessary. So I did it…I “networked”…but I never really *got* it.
Fast forward to the present. From my 2009 Frye cohort to members of the Bay Area CIO group, participants on the EDUCAUSE CIO listserv, and social media community of IT and higher education professionals — I now am fortunate to be a part of a number of networks that I both contribute to and recognize benefit from. I tweet and retweet, post questions to the listservs and answer them, and sometimes reach out personally to seek or offer advice.
I’ve made introductions and received them, and been offered writing and speaking opportunities via referral (just one this morning, in fact — w00t!). Just a few weeks ago I was able to connect the colleague of a colleague on the East Coast, to another colleague on the West Coast, to facilitate a job search surrounding a relocation. Now that’s the power of a network!
Perhaps it’s because it’s no longer something I “do”, and simply a part of how I choose to participate in and contribute to our community…but suddenly, I am reasonably well networked. And yet, I no longer “network.” Go figure.