Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Short Story on the Value of Social Networking Through Facebook

Two Twins, Two StrangersImage by Tiago on Vacations via Flickr
Social networking is a popular buzzword these days. Google's AdWords reveals the term, "Social Networking" has an average of 673,000 global searches per month. That is a lot of searches.

Blogs give advice on how to maximize social networks. E-books claim they can help me earn money through social networking sites. This is exciting news but what can the average user expect from social networking efforts? What is the appeal?

In this entry, I share a short story on the value and power of social networking.

This past Monday I received a telephone call from a friend I last saw over a year ago. I know that he lives in or around Durham but with work and other personal responsibilities our schedules do not allow many visits.

When he called I was a bit surprised. We do not talk that much either, especially by phone. Curious, I picked up the phone. Chris, that's my friends name, said hello and asked me if I knew this guy. The name was not immediately familiar but then I have met a lot of people in my day.

I told Chris that the name does not ring a bell and then asked why he wanted to know. He tells me that he found a wallet with credit cards, pictures, and personal information. After a brief search online, he found the guy on facebook and realized I was connected to him. Being the good citizen that Chris is, he called me.

Curious to know who this guy was, I went to facebook and searched my growing contact list. Sure enough, I knew the guy from college and found that he lived in Raleigh. Thankfully, my college friend left his phone number online and I was able to call him.

After a few rings, he picked up the phone. I quickly introduced myself and gave him a brief statement about how we know each other. Obviously, we were not close friends, but we knew many of the same people and that made it easy to continue with my mission.

Moments later, I asked if he was missing a wallet. He checked his pockets and reported that he had everything on him. I began listing a number of items Chris found in the wallet. Quickly, my college buddy realized what he had lost and was extremely appreciative for the call. I shared Chris' number and told him where he could pick up his possessions. Come to find out, my friend was only blocks away from Chris and later reported that the wallet, credit cards, personal information, and pictures had been missing for years.

Isn't it amazing how it all came together? It just goes to show how powerful and well connected we really are. The question is what are we doing with this new information? How can we use social networking sites and skills to help others. Are you leveraging the technology to connect like-minded friends? Are you routing valuable information between contacts? If not, why?

For me, I am going open up and seek out new and creative ways to use the connections. Maybe it will be to help others where they cannot help themselves, like Pay It Forward. The answer is unclear at this moment, but I know I am not doing enough with the resources I have at my fingers.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please share them if you have them.

Until next time...

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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