The power of social media (including social networking) constantly amazes me. It keeps people in touch with each other, facilitates introductions that may otherwise never have happened, and so much more. Since I first started writing this blog a year and a half ago, I’ve received emails and introductions from all sorts of interesting people – entrepreneurs, techies, mobile industry followers, media agencies, etc. – some famous in tech circles, others not. Several of these introductions have remained electronic ‘friendships’ over email or Facebook. Others have resulted in ‘real life’ friendships, when one of us realizes we have friends in common or we meet face-to-face at an industry event. Today, I got to thinking about how amazing this really is when social media faciltated yet another interesting introduction….
A man who works in the Business Development Agency for a European country, pinged me on LinkedIn. He wanted to know whether I would be interested in consulting for companies in his country that are expanding to the US. In the course of our email conversation, he wrote:
I’ve known for a long time [about] the many different forms of social media interaction, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, etc., but I never thought of it as something more than personal interaction… kid’s stuff that made a few people very rich. I guess I was quite wrong. So, I’ve returned a few times to your blog, searched a few other related blogs and started researching that issue more extensively. I feel, in fact, that there may be a much more around that concept than I thought.
His email made me pause. Living in San Francisco, a stones throw from Silicon Valley, where “social media” is pre-printed on everyone’s “buzz word bingo” card, it’s easy to forget that most people – especially those outside of America are still just beginning to understand the potential of social media. Five years ago, when I was living in the UK, I would have never anticipated that I’d be writing a blog or (gasp) meeting people over the internet. My British friends all thought I was crazy and looked at me strangely when I first mentioned that I was writing a blog. Today, at least one of them has a blog, and most of the others are on Facebook. And, that’s the tip of the iceberg. The world is only just beginning to see the potential of social media, and social networking is just the start.