Online Social Networking vs. In-Person Networking

lesbrown Online social networking giants like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and YouTube allow us to expand our community exponentially… without ever leaving the comfort of our home offices.

However, to heighten and accelerate your success, attending live events is equally important. You get to see and be seen. You’ll have meaningful conversations in person. You take photographs and upload them to Facebook, Flickr, Twitpic. Of course, you get to learn valuable tools, strategies and secrets to success.

And, you get to meet some of the most amazing people you may never have been able to connect with otherwise… in person. [Pic R: Les Brown & Mari Smith. I had the honor of sharing the stage with Les Brown at SANG] [Pic below: Stacey Hylen, Dorcy Russell, Yanik Silver, Mari Smith - all dressed up for Yanik's Underground5 Bond night!]

yanik_bond_editBy first connecting with new people via online social networks, it’s easy to create what I call “virtual rapport.” Oftentimes, you may feel like you have an incredibly close relationship with a social networking friend… all that remains is to meet them in person and it’s like you’ve known each other for years!

Or, conversely, what’s happened to me a few times too is I have a certain picture in my mind’s eye of how I think someone is like in real life. Then I meet them face to face and there’s this instant chemistry. I suddenly morph the image of who I thought the person was into who they really are, and I’m pleasantly and warmly surprised.

This anchors my point that you simply cannot afford not to attend live events. All the online social networking in the world (even including video conferencing) will never replace face-to-face networking. Everyone has an energy field and you cannot get a true sense of that without physically being in their presence.

I absolutely love to attend, support and speak at live events; personal and professional growth seminars have been a passion of mine for decades. See my calendar of upcoming public events here.

Just in the past couple months, I’ve attended and/or spoken at these amazing events:

I can honestly say attending a variety of events and speaking at events about Facebook/Twitter/social media this past year or so has lead to more and more consulting, training and speaking contracts! Love that.

What events will you be attending this year? What has been your most enjoyable event to date? Do you attend Tweetups in your area? If not, would you consider organizing/hosting one?! Do you think online social networking can ever replace live events? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

  • Elizabeth Genco Purvis

    While I love social networking, nothing replaces in person events! Social networking only makes a Good Thing (events) even better. People work with people, not names on a screen.

    My next big event is David Neagle’s ERS in Vegas in just a couple of weeks. Can’t wait! Will I see you there?

    Elizabeth Genco Purviss last blog post..The Power Of Valuing What You Know

  • http://www.karmacooler.com rebeca trautner

    Wow, Mari – I could not agree more. The amount of excitement and not to mention the re-energizing that happens is worth the price of most (if not all) of these events. You also get to meet amazing people you may not have otherwise been able, like your wonderful self! Hopefully I will get the chance to see you at BlogWorld again this year!

  • http://www.Cheryl-Hill.com Cheryl Hill

    Mari – Great article and I agree with you 100%!

    There is NOTHING like networking face to face. I love building relationships online but like you said meeting someone face to face, at events is what seals the deal in the friendship/relationship!

    Social Media sites allows us to do alot of PRE-getting to know you online but we NEED that REAL connection!!

    Getting to events is so important for any business! Thanks for sharing, LOVE your training girl!

    I personally am looking forward to our Vegas Conference the end of the month and then our Montana Meeting in April. Amazing times -
    Cheryl Hill

  • http://www.MarketingActionClub.com Kevin Dervin

    Online social networking will never replace live, in-person networking. It’s not the intent and God forbid it would ever happen.

    Meeting people through other people is the way of the world. I love going to live networking events and interacting with others face to face.

    For some people, online social networking seems to me more about quantity… the more connections the better. In live networking venues, I prefer to focus on quality of connections. You never know who you’re going to be able to help or who might be able to help you.

    Here in Kansas City, the online groups are looking for reasons to get the community together for live networking. It just makes sense to take the relationships to another level.

    Kevin Dervins last blog post..Marketing Hockey Stick

  • http://www.kathycondon.info Kathy Condon

    When I read the headline of your blog I was holding my breathe hoping you would say In-Person Networking will never go out of style.

    You did a great job of pulling them all together…and I hadn’t thought about including the pictures.

    This afternoon I’m being interviewed by our local press on Social Networking…..this is just another piece I can add.

    Heading to Bakersfield next week and getting together with a group I met on Twitter…..TweetUps are becoming popular.

  • http://www.kdmcmillan.com/ Karen

    Mari, this so resonates with me. I’ve enjoyed the power of the “virtual rapport” which has complemented my live relationship building. I attend local events and people mention my presence on Twitter and Facebook – usually referring to the quotes I share. The synergy is powerful. So much so I’m inspired to arrange a local meetup.

  • http://www.skylinecoachingblog.com Nickolove Lovemore

    Well said, Mari. While the Internet gives us unprecedented opportunities to connect with people across the world there is no substitute for meeting people face-to-face.

    One of my favourite events is Armand Morin’s Big Seminar. And one of the reasons I enjoy this event so much is that in addition to the excellent presentations the event is designed to facilitate networking.

    Nickolove Lovemores last blog post.."Feng Shui Made Simple" – Discover How You Can Transform Your Home and Your Health with this Step-by-Step Guide

  • John Easton

    Mari:

    As is often the case with “new” things, we tend to see them as replacements for the old. Thank you for reminding us that successful relationship building is about blending the old with the new.

    John

    John Eastons last blog post..Throw a Referral Party for New Business

  • http://www.todaybydesign.com Melissa

    Got clever with the request for twitter ID. I love it. Truly appreciated your sharing with Adam Urbanski, you are an inspiration always. I’m on the blog hunt for my experts, be careful, you are one, LOL. Brilliant input and advice always.

    Thank you!

    Melissas last blog post..BUSINESS BUILDING BLOCKS: Leveraging Your Brand

  • http://rightheredoingit.typepad.com/ Kitara R. Wilson

    Mari,

    I agree that there is a certain energy that happens at live events that cannot be felt or appreciated in online social networks.

    As a home schooling mother of young children, I admit that I do not get out to as many as I would like to, but when I can I definitely attend. In fact, one of my favorites is Dani Johnson’s First Steps to Success, and I will be attending her next one in April right here in Houston. I can’t wait!

    Thanks for sharing this great info and continued success!

    Kitara R. Wilson

    Kitara R. Wilsons last blog post..Free

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  • Robert Rubin

    Hi Mari,

    I enjoyed this article very much. My personal choice is to attend Networking events in person. Online social networking has a downside that it does not transmit emotion, passion, nor body language. In a short face to face conversation you are capable of forming an opinion of the person you are talking with. You can tell if they care about you, if they rather be somewhere else,or if they simply want to be done talking to you.

    The other benefit of networking in person is that you never know who the person you are talking to will introduce you to. Have you not had that personal contact you would have missed that opportunity.

    Relationship Marketing is something that takes time to develop and it starts with a face to face introduction and it grows from there as you get to learn more about the other person and you make the effort to stay connected.

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