Thursday, September 08, 2005

The virtual chamber of commerce...

Although I do rely on several consultants for support services on a regular basis, I am, by and large, a solo practitioner who operates in a key supporting role for my own clients, whose operations are between hundreds and thousands of miles away from me physically. Modern technology is the key to how I can build a successful practice and maintain solid relationships with my clients and the individuals who are of importance to them. Nonetheless, the fact is, if I just stick to my "normal" work routine, in the past I've found that I have missed out on the benefits that come from networking with other folks I might have met by taking a more active role in pursuing my interests. Over the past year or so, I've spent some time with several social networks, and discovered that they're a relatively fascinating way to meet new people and to experience some spontaneous, educational interactions that, in my case, have led to some very interesting results.

I've re-connected with several past colleagues on the LinkedIn network, I have learned a great deal and even published a few pieces on the AlwaysOn network, and I've made friends and valuable business contacts on the Ryze network. Although these networks offer various extended services if you're willing to pay for the upgrades, the benefits I've enjoyed have hardly cost a thing (I did pay for membership on AlwaysOn, which gave me an RSS feed and a subscription to the recently revived Red Herring magazine). If you find yourself seeking more human interaction that's of a professional nature, I encourage you to explore social networks. For more on these developments in a business context, check out Matthew Yeomans' Time magazine story, "Taming the Wild Web."