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Connected Strangers

Confession time in 3, 2, 1:

Are you a LinkedIn junkie (I confess); Facebook friend; Instagrammer; YouTuber; a Tweeter; master texter; or partaker in any other social media platform?

If you too are guilty as charged, you likely have friends, followers, and connections around the globe who now have direct access to you through your smartphone, desktop or tablet 24/7. Blessing or curse? The half has not yet been told about what will come from how we freely share our phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses and all manner of “private” information. That said, is anyone else curious about how accessible we are, but how little we ultimately learn about one another after agreeing to all these connections?

Sure, we get to see photos of your dinner, and countless bathroom selfies (please stop that). But… for the entrepreneur or executive who’s online for networking purposes, where is the value in simply connecting to strangers and letting that be that?

Social media gives us a veil to hide behind, but what about the in-person networking activities, where being “social” is actually the point?

Like it was yesterday, I can remember my first order of business cards…1,000. And yes, I was in overdrive to pass them all out as quickly as possible. And I did at networking event after Ladies Luncheon after mix-n-mingle, until around the 700th business card. Something about the number 7, I suppose. Call it an epiphany if you will. I still have many cards from my first order. Now, I am intentional about sharing my contact information. If we meet in-person and there is purpose and intelligence and opportunity in our sharing, you will likely see me take out my smartphone and ask for your cell number, not your business card. I’ll ask whether you are on LinkedIn – because that is my preferred social media platform. Then, I’ll ask that you add me as a contact in your cell phone and will text you my e-card for you to save as my contact picture. Here’s why: if you see a name and a smiling face that you recognize on your phone screen, you’ll remember how our conversation made you feel, and that feeling is far greater than the texture of a business card in your hand.

I grow my connections organically, no bots or programs help get my numbers up on my social sites. To me, networking is like farming. What I’ve learned since I launched Ascent Small Business Promotion, LLC in January 2015 is to cultivate and nurture relationships whether virtual or in-person. Recognize that opportunities abound to grow friendships, partnerships, business associations and support from your online and actual villages. Likewise, opportunities abound for you to be a friend, partner, associate and supporter. Beyond the sheer pleasure of seeing increasing traffic to your page or profile, what good is there in being connected strangers.

I live near Detroit, MI and operate Ascent Small Business Promotion, LLC. In 2015, I started my first blog. In 2016, I created #iGoaltend Magazine. This blog, Pep Talk with The Small Business Cheerleader, is my give back to the community. I’m a Grant Writer, Young Entrepreneur mentor, and Board Member (just ask me). I’m an Alumni Recruiter for Coppin State University (HBCU #CoppinProud). A wonderful husband, Ken; 5 children (4 are grown – we’re in the homestretch); 2 grand princesses; a big dog and a gigantic goldfish, complete me.

Comments on this Post

  • Great blog Tisha and a good reminder for all of us to bring more meaning and depth to our interactions with business people online. I particularly liked your insight that texting an e-card with a smiling photo helps the contact remember how a previous conversation made him/her feel than a paper business card. To me, your idea is in the same spirit of the quote from the late great Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”