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The end of social networking? The end of social networking?
by Joseph Gatt
2019-03-03 07:52:57
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We probably all knew that man or woman; that person who seemed to know everyone else and who was willing to introduce everyone to everyone else. That relationship matchmaker, business matchmaker, the guy or girl you would call when you need a good plumber or electrician, that person you would call when you need a job or a business partner.

social001_400Where have all those people gone? You know those people who knew everyone in town, in neighboring towns, in the country, around the world. Let me describe below how networking has virtually vanished at the school level, at the institutional level and even at the family level.

At the school level, you always had those teachers, or those principals, or those students who seemed to know everyone else. They networked around the school, trying to get to know most students, trying to get to know most teachers, trying to get to know people around the school and beyond. You would always see them on weekends at crowded cafés or pubs, at crowded beaches or public places, trying to get to know everyone else.

Those guys were the people you had to talk to when you needed advice to go to college, when you needed practical advice on how to lead your life, when you wanted to meet producers who would produce an album for your rock band, or if you wanted a cameo in a movie. They were the guys you would go to if you were looking for a part-time job, if you needed practical solutions for your cash problems, or if you were looking for a job straight out of college.

At the institutional level, be it the university, the workplace, the church or the synagogue, you always had those guys or girls who seemed to know almost everyone who attended the institution, who knew all the good construction workers, interior decorators, caterers, plumbers, electricians, all the best restaurants and pubs, good recommendations for a Laundromat, and advice if you were looking for a job, wanted to switch jobs, or even in some countries if you were trying to travel or leave the country.

They knew almost everyone, talked to almost everyone, heard almost every story, and had a great deal of firsthand experience. They knew where to find new clients and which old clients to ditch, they knew where to find new markets and which new markets to avoid, they heard all the good stories and all the horror stories. More importantly, they always started by saying “correct me if I'm wrong.” and “I may be wrong about this, but to the best of my knowledge.”

Same goes at the family level/ You always had that aunt or uncle, cousin or brother-in-law who knew everyone there is to know, talked to everyone, knew all the good places, knew where to find you an apartment, knew where to call a taxi at 3 AM, and by the way didn't mind that you call them at 3 AM in case of emergency.

Where have those colleagues, classmates, uncles, brothers in law, distant cousins gone? Do social media have something to do with it? Now with social media we are so connected, so interconnected, yet no one seems to be the guy who knows everyone else and who talks to everyone else.

I've noticed a recent trend where people tend to be a lot less open for casual conversation, where people avoid talking to strangers and people want to remain in their comfort zone. Even with businesses, who should technically be desperate for clients, when new opportunities arise, they shell up and move back to their comfort zones.

Will people re-learn the power of networking, casual conversation, talking to strangers and comfort themselves in knowing that they are part of a large network. I hope they will sooner rather than later.

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