I am in favor of social networks. I am a big part of it. Unfortunately, it seems like the goal is to get back into the bad habits of bad business networking techniques.

The main reason to attend a networking event is to create business. Unfortunately, some people think that the goal is to collect as many business cards as possible. It’s not. The goal is to establish quality connections with people who can offer or send business your way.

If an attendee leaves a networking event with a hundred business cards and hasn’t made a personal connection or impression, what was the value? Why waste time? He could easily have looked up a hundred new names in the phone book to announce on the mailing list.

My goal is to make 1 to 3 quality contacts and good impressions at each networking meeting. The possibilities of follow-up and real business are much greater.

Today we have internet social networks. They can be interesting avenues for networking. Unfortunately, once again, bad habits die hard and the goal seems to be to collect names or “friends” without really knowing anyone.

If you want to be someone on myspace, Facebook or LinkedIn, you need “friends”. How long does it take to gather a thousand friends? How many wasted hours are wasted to accumulate enough friends to help your blog post appear on the digg homepage. Yes, friends are also part of that algorithm.

As I write this article, an old friend from college, whom I haven’t spoken to in fifteen years, just sent me an email. He submitted a request to be added to my friends list a couple of days ago and this is the first email I have received from him. The email said, “vote for your favorite TV show.” What happened to how you’ve been for fifteen years?

No real communication. That’s just as bad as people who think they’re reaching out to you by sending you six joke emails of the day.

I made good connections with old friends, found some additional traffic on my blog, and even shared my portfolio through networking sites. However, additional networking tools are needed to make these sites more valuable. Use some old-school methods like the phone, postcards, and standard email to keep track. Ask good questions and build relationships.

I argue that if you want to play the business numbers game, stop wasting your time, buy a list.

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