Social media has made it so easy to connect and network with others in your industry. Between replies to a tweet, commenting on a status update, or joining other types of groups, it’s increasingly easy to seemingly build relationships without ever having to actually meet people. But is all this social networking really as beneficial as traditional networking?
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Unfortunately, probably not. Conversations on social media are often short and brief, with responses and replies delayed for hours if not days. Connecting with other professionals in your industry at events face-to-face enables deeper conversations about your careers, ambitions, and mutual experiences. Unlike via social media, you’ll likely have their attention for more than a few seconds and can engage with them about their company, goals, and even opportunities that might be available.
On that note, being able to meet people face-to-face opens up that opportunity to talk about topics that you may not feel comfortable discussing where others can read it. If you’re quietly looking for a new job — and don’t want your coworkers to know — networking face-to-face enables you to discuss what other companies are like and if there may be a job available for you elsewhere. It’s much easier to land a gig — or even your next job — by attending networking functions and talking with others in your industry and discussing your background and aspiration than by trying to leverage social media to build these relationships.
Finally, meeting people at real networking event helps to establish your reputation in a way that can’t be done using social media. Other people in your industry have a much easier way of gauging your personality, confidence, and maturity at a face-to-face meeting. This can significantly impact whether they refer you for potential job opportunities at their company — or even to other people for positions elsewhere. It’s difficult to establish yourself in just 140 characters, but meeting someone at a real networking event can easily — and much faster — establish yourself.
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