Everything Else

My offline web

You’ve read through the whole of this month’s updates and got all fired up about using online technology to build a virtual social network, but that doesn’t mean you can give up networking in the real world.

As much as we can’t imagine life without computers now, for the entire history of humankind from cavemen until the 1950s, one could hardly imagine life with one.

Everyone just got on with it.

Sydney Harbour Bridge was constructed with pencils and paper, slide rules, and the occasional abacus. The entire workforce was managed with ledgers, index cards, and rubber stamps. Workers were paid by cash and perhaps some of the bigger transactions were done with hand-written promissory notes. Though typewriters and telephones were in use, most communication was surely faced to face or scrawled with fountain pens.

What’s my point? Somehow everything still worked. Huge projects, like hydroelectric schemes, subway systems, and even the Opera House, with all its curvy complexity, were completed well before anyone ‘needed’ a computer to get anything done. Systems and networks existed, such as information and project management. Most importantly, humans interacted with other humans, agreed, shook hands, signed contracts, and made it happen.

‘Politicians might all use Blackberries and iPhones, but they haven’t mothballed the two houses of parliament just yet.’

We are being mesmerized into thinking that somehow it is only since the birth of ‘Web 2.0′ that we have had the ability to socially network. We forget that before Facebook, we had a little black book. While computers and the internet have certainly facilitated and amplified networking to unfathomable scales, the most real business is done in person.

Politicians might all use Blackberries and iPhones, but they haven’t mothballed the two houses of parliament just yet. Most offices still have boardrooms. Trade Shows and expos seem to be experiencing a boom right now. Computers might make them far more efficient to organize, but at the same time, people are realizing how awesome conferences are at generating new business and engaging with their peers.

Offline networking is one of my most valuable assets as a business. Sure, I want to tip all my contacts into my email list and refer people to my website at any available opportunity, but I would be missing out on a huge opportunity if I didn’t work my real-world life as much as possible.

I joined my local Chamber of Commerce and my local Rotary club. I attend many business events, expos, functions and launches. Recently I joined a chapter of BNI, a hugely successful global network of business owners existing for the sole purpose of promoting word-of-mouth marketing. Even though my business is very much focused on the Internet, I still like to meet my clients in person and work predominantly with in-house staff.

I am a people person.

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to engage face to face – at least until virtual reality evolves sufficiently into fooling my senses that I am in the same room as you, and that is still quite a long way off.

If I can work the world just like our ancestors did, then enhance all those engagements with Web technology like collaboration tools, Web-based communication, and marketing, I’ll be unstoppable. #



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