Let's admit it - it's a buzz word. Possibly THE buzz word. But why?
Because the gadgets DO allow us to lose touch while we think we're keeping in touch, so we need to remind ourselves that all that time we spend MyFaceSpace+TweetBlogging shouldn't just be about us and our product. We need to build in the time to connect with other people, ask them questions about their interests, talk about life and science and cupcakes, swap stories about our kids and share our favorite songs.
But that isn't the only way. Once upon a time, networking meant going to a place where there were others in your field, like a meeting or a conference or an awards ceremony and shaking hands with people and starting a conversation.
In the publishing industry, it still means that. We have SCBWI conferences (and CANSCAIPmeetings and conferences too if you live in Canada), and awards ceremonies, and book launches, and book clubs, and all kinds of fun writerly things going on.
As we spend December cramming in the pre-Christmas gift exchanges and charity dinners, let's think about how we can make a new start in January by either starting a local writerly event, or finding one to attend regularly. Some of my most treasured friendships and best person-to-person connections in the publishing world started with a handshake and a conversation. I hope it will be the same for you.
How do you plan to put the "social" back in "Social Networking" in 2012?