Out with the old and in with the new!
Goodbye physical maps, phone books and small scaled networking. Hello GPS, smart phones and global connections. I have taken many business trips over the course of my career but during a recent business excursion to attend South by Southwest in Austin Texas, I experienced a glaring reality…
Six degrees of separation has extremely narrowed to more like one degree. The combination of technical gadgets and social networking sites provide instant ability to connect.
- GPS (Global Positioning System): Some of you reading this may remember when we used to have to unfold a paper map to find our destination. Now you enter a location into your GPS, stick it to your windshield and follow the step by step audio and visual directions provided. This little gadget came in extremely handy while traveling throughout Dallas and Austin. It gave us navigation on the major roads and better yet provided the freedom to easily venture around within these cities.
- Smart Phones: Talk about more than a phone! Welcome to portable ability to connect. My iPhone was an invaluable tool during this trip. I kept a finger on the pulse of my business by easily accessing email, Facebook, Twitter and the Web on the go. Plus I had a love affair with a few specific apps…
WhitePages – What a great portable GPS! Like with most geographical apps, my location was automatically registered then I simply inputted a person or place. This came in extremely handy when traveling by foot or taxi.
Gowalla - Networking ease! Have you ever been at a conference and tried to find a friend or colleague amidst the thousands of attendees? Not a problem if you are using a tool like Gowalla. You simply “check in” to your location (i.e. Ballroom A) and anyone else using this specific app or in combination with Facebook & Twitter (if you choose) can see where you are. It helped me connect with several people that I may not have ever known were in the same room.
Bump - Instant contact info! Save a tree and scale back on business cards. This app easily exchanges contact information with a simple “bump” of your smart phone. What a great way to lighten the stacks of cards gathered at a networking event.
- Pre-Networking: Thanks to Social Media networking now has a global reach and preemptive possibilities. For example prior to attending SXSW, my business partner and I were able to pre-network through sites like Facebook and Twitter. We began communicating far in advance with key people in our industry like Gary Vaynerchuck and the Mashable team. So when we did meet them, we were not strangers in a sea of people but instead a familiar friendly face. BT (before technology) when you attended a large scale event, your chances of connecting with these same people were slim to none.
Throughout our adventure in Texas, we were thrilled to meet new people and excited to confirm that we were already connected to almost everyone through mutual friends. How did we know this? Well of course through Social Media. So next time you come across a new contact, check out a site like Facebook and you will be pleasantly surprised to find that you are probably connected by only a few degrees of separation.