“Networking is not a job”

I’ve always maintained multiple networks in my life – professional circles, different cliques of friends, etc. While some of my friends will be in more than one of my networks, they have different “roles” in each network they occur in. On the same token, topics discussed in each network are different. I don’t try to find acceptance and agreement from the same group of people all the time because we ARE all different. Occasionally, some networks will mingle, and develop new engagements, but for the most part each member of the network are there because they want to be there, and they genuinely respect one another.

When social networks come to play, however, this implicit separation and mutual respect become difficult to maintain.

Toxic people will find new and interesting ways to frustrate others – even as I’ve exercised the all-mighty “block” on some social networks, I realized I can’t stop people from talking about me behind (or in front of) my face. The irritation doesn’t come from people trash-talking me – working in advertising for a good nine years gave me skin thicker than a rhino’s and I let them slide. The problem is some of these so-called “networkers” try to leverage their “networks” to gain things. I’m being “referenced” or “referred” by people I actively make an effort to stay away from.

While I agree that networking is a powerful and important part of professional life, I don’t agree that selling your social “network” – one crafted out of intent to inflate ones’ self-ego is beneficial to anyone’s careers. The number of followers you have on Twitter or the number of friends you have on Facebook doesn’t make you influencial unless you actually have interesting things to say and people choose to agree with you. Just because you have “heard of me on Twitter” or is an acquaintance in my life, it doesn’t mean I endorse  nor listen to anything you have to say. To compound the problem, most of the time assholes on social networks are bigger assholes in real ife – most of these “social networkers” are horrible networkers in real life (I’ve witnessed many and I hide whenever I see them).

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