Forced Networking: Thanks To Twitter, It’s Easy!

Tomorrow morning I’ll be attending a chamber of commerce networking event, one of many that I’m signed up for in the next few weeks.  My new job necessitates that I attend them, but I have a confession: I’ve never willingly gone to a “forced networking” event before.  I’ve always attended similar events with friends, or gone just for the food.  For this one, I’m on my own and not expecting the food to be anything to write home about.  The odd thing: I’m actually looking forward to it.  And I think I have Twitter to thank.

Prior to Twitter I didnt’ really know how to explain my “essence” in a simple soundbite.  Now, I don’t even need 140 characters.  Although it’s easier to do this in writing, it has helped for in-person awkward introductions as well.  Also prior to Twitter, I wasn’t keen on introducing myself to strangers.  However, the valuable connections, friendships, and learning opportunities I’ve found on Twitter have made me truly realize the role networking plays in my career.

There’s a downside to Twitter though – it’s spoiled me.  I bet most of the people I meet tomorrow morning won’t be on Twitter…so how do I develop new connections and maintain relationships?  That’s where the “forced networking” events will come into play.  In the beginning, they’ll help me make valuable connections.  But as time moves on, these networking events will be like an in-person, condensed Twitter stream; a time when I check in with everyone, see what they’re up to, offer personal updates, throw out new ideas and collaborate.  That is, until I get them all on Twitter 🙂

What’s your stance on “forced networking” events.  Has your opinion changed since engaging in social media?

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