I’ve made it a point to try and do some serious housekeeping work on my contact lists once a year. I know, you’re a better networker than I am so you keep at it on a more frequent basis. But for me, little piles of business cards stack up on my desk like a claymation stop-motion film that advances a frame every time I attend a conference or event.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been doing my annual thing on LinkedIn; however, I’ve gone into respond-only mode on the site. Why? LI creates connections between resumes. Sure, you can add a profile picture – so now we’re creating connections between CVs. LI is positioned for better or worse as a professional networker’s haven. I kind of see it as Frankfurt airport – orderly and efficient. Work with me here.
Quick, what’s the airport you most hate connecting through? For me, hands down that would be London Heathrow. It’s just a mess. That’s how I feel about MySpace. But there’s no better SoNet for self-expression, especially for artists like Alex Young (a family friend).
This year, I’ve turned my attention to Facebook.
[Un]fortunately I discovered the Gmail contact import function today. And because all my contacts are n*sync, I uncovered a CRAZY cross-section of people on FB that I’ve crossed paths with over time. Unfortunately, the add/invite went out over the series of tubes before I could include a personal note – my sincere apologies.
Amazingly, I’ve got small networks re-/forming. The kids who grew up on my street. Elementary school friends, even the guy I fought one time in 5th grade. High school friends I moved away from. High school friends who I graduated with and have gone on to wonderful things. Freshman year friends. Fraternity brothers. Their girlfriends. A cappella geeks. First job. B-school. Internship. Second job. Third job. Current job – colleagues, boss, ex-boss, mentors, and management, along with an entire ecosystem of clients, competitors, media, and other new types of friends. Even my wife got on FB this year, but thankfully I interact with her about never on the site and in person instead.
In a nutshell, this is my social graph. Rich profiles mean connecting along affinity lines deeper and
more personal than corporate logo alone. I’ll keep this post personal and leave the "web strategy" stuff out – but I highly recommend reading up on Jeremiah’s thinking about the subject.