The Power of Networking! It’s a Small World After All!


Networking is one of the most important societal means of connecting and communicating with people in this Digital Age.

Whether for personal or professional reasons, whether looking for a job or looking to hire someone, whether looking to find an acquaintance from long ago or looking to connect with someone new, networking is the way to connect.

And today we have unprecedented tools that will enable this networking. Why is this important and what are the benefits, lessons and precautions to consider when connecting with anyone, anywhere and at any time?

A History Devoid of Modern Networking Tools

Early in my career I had an interest in networking, in developing a wide network of contacts all over the world in different companies and in different industries.

However, although I was working for a large global corporation, I was also working in a single factory in a single city with limited interaction beyond those 4 walls. It wasn’t clear to me how to create such a network.

But over time, as I built my network, I learned better how to network, what to look for, what tools to use, and what lessons were important for others to heed.

As I completed University, and as I began my career, all of my friends and associates more or less lived in the same city. Some moved on, even outside of the country, but most were scattered in a somewhat small geographic area.

This was also a time before the internet. There was no such thing as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or Social Media, or any other online networking tools. There were no cell phones and there was no texting. There was no email, even at work. At work there was still a steno pool in which a team of people typed all correspondence on paper.

The first personal computers were just coming out. And given their large expense very few people at work or at home had this new computing power at hand. The land line telephone and pagers were the extent of most communication technology. Online networking was limited to communicating in chat rooms.

In this environment the ability to build and expand a personal and professional network seemed very limited. Unless you manually kept regular phone contact with anyone it was difficult to keep in touch.

At work I certainly got to meet and connect with a lot of new people. But we all worked in the same building. And the business environment at the time was such that there was limited external mobility as most people stayed with the same company for most if not all of their careers. So it was great to build an internal company network. But it was limited in scope.

Over time, as I got to participate in business travel and go to meet people in other parts of the company, I continued to expand my network. But the reach of my network was limited by a need to meet people face to face to establish a relationship and connection.

Building my network in this way was moving along at a snail’s pace. But then technology started leading the way.

Networking Enabling Technologies

Over time the adoption and proliferation of personal computer technology, along with advances in hardware (eg. cellphones and smart phones), software (eg. apps), the ability to network systemically and quickly became invaluable networking technologies.

LinkedIn was launched in 2003, and as a networking tool focussed on professional connections this was precisely what I personally was looking for. It provided a way to “link” to others directly, and be extension see how many second level connections and third level connections you had. You could quickly see the size of your extended network.

Facebook was launched in 2004, and became hugely popular for personal connections and networking, starting off with a huge student following and then exploding to include almost 3 billion monthly active users.

Twitter came about in 2006. For my part I didn’t initially see the value in sending short messages (initially 140 characters but now 280), or tweets, but I later learned how valuable it can be for getting messages out. It enjoys over 500 million monthly active users.

And let’s not forget YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, WeChat, and most recently TikTok (a personal favourite of mine).

Today there is an extensive lists of apps with which you can engage to view content, to network, to communicate, to request things or services, to offer things or services, to buy or sell, or simply just to connect.

Networking Importance

The introduction of all of these networking tools either created a need, or responded to a need for many different types of connections:

According to, people use social media for the following reasons:

I would add that people use social media and networking to:

  1. Advertise and market their products or services
  2. Looking for candidates to hire, or promote candidates available to hire
  3. Dating
  4. Ask for help or money (eg. Crowdfunding)
  5. Search for and share information
  6. Attract followers and earn income
  7. and on and on and on

Whatever your networking interest, there seems to be a social media app to suit your needs.

Networking Benefits and Precautions

Online networking clearly has many benefits. You can instantaneously connect with people and send and receive messages for personal or professional reasons. At your fingertips you have immediate access to virtually any information, products, services or people available anywhere on the planet.

Long gone are the days of analog communication (eg. physical mail). We now live in a world of immediacy and spontaneity in terms of connectivity and communication.

But there are precautions that people need to take. Not everyone that you may be connected to, or who wants to connect with you, or who is “following” you has your best interests at heart.

There are lots of scams and fraudulent behaviour. If you put information of social media that includes your contact information or whereabouts, or photos that can be traced, or identification of any kind, that can be used by those with nefarious purposes in mind.

The location of your smart phone can be traced. When used by Police to find people that can be a good thing. When used by stores that you’ve entered to send you deals that may be good or it may be annoying. But there is a dark side to this type of access of information as well.

Scammers cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in damages every year. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission states that over 95,000 people report over $770 million in losses on social media in 2021. Remember, that is just what is reported, not what is not reported. reports that 62% of Facebook users encounter scams every week on that app.

If you click on links that you are not sure of you may end up downloading a virus or being connected to someone you do not want to have anything to do with at all.

Caution is the key. If in doubt don’t click, don’t connect and don’t provide information or data for which you are not 100% confident in its use and protection.


The ability to network and connect and communicate instantly with anyone anywhere is an exciting capability in our digital world. Most people use these tools with only the best intentions. And as such they are invaluable, connecting people in ways that would not be possible or practical otherwise.

But everyone must use these capabilities intelligently and with one eye out looking for anything that may be inappropriate or suspicious or untoward.

Our ability to network, whether for personal or professional reasons, has never been better or more convenient. You can find and connect with people you haven’t seen in years, you can stay in touch with those closest to you, or you can reach out to people that you would like to know, anywhere in the world.

It truly is a small world, after all!

Originally published on April 11, 2023.