Why Digital Networking Is Important (and How to Master It)

Posted by Christine Ziebell on 10/17/2016 1:44:36 PM


Why Digital Networking Is Important (and How to Master It)

When LinkedIn launched its service in 2003, many of us thought they were nuts. I will be the first to admit I was not an early adaptor. Taking the time to ”connect” with people on the platform seemed pointless: ”OK, so now we’re connected on LinkedIn, now what?” Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I got requests to connect mostly from people I talked to every day. So what are we doing on this platform again? It wasn’t until years later that it started to make sense. And today, so much in business revolves around LinkedIn it’s not even funny.

Here’s an example: Our company recently hired a Silicon-Valley based recruiter (Rebekah Wu of Right Hand Partners) to assist in an important VP-level recruitment. (Note to self: she is amazing so remember to endorse her on LinkedIn.) The very first thing she did when she received an application was check out the candidate’s profile on LinkedIn. Not only did she look at work history, number of connections, and other key information, she also pegged candidates based on how old their profile pictures were and what kind of endorsements they had. Talk about a networking tool that can, at least in certain situations, make or break you.

The Importance of Internal Networking

While most people today acknowledge that networking outside of the workplace is important, companies still have a long way to go when it comes to recognizing the importance of internal networking. Building social connections within the walls of the office is just as important as outside of them. And ultimately, you need the right tools to facilitate this networking, or it won’t happen.

Back in the day, there was a concept of MBWA: Management by Walking Around. It made a manager more of a ‘leader’ rather than the ‘boss’. Effective collaboration and communication resulted in enhanced productivity and higher efficiency. It was the best thing that had happened in the world of business until technology changed the workforce trends. Today, with so much of the workforce working remotely, you can’t accomplish much by walking around and relying on physical interaction in the workplace. Enter digital collaboration.

The Balance Between Working and Socializing

Digital networking tools and technology are now connecting teams, leaders, and even stakeholders with no geographical constraints or limitations. The concept is close to a social network that allows seamless sharing of data and information with proper policies and administrative rights in place. The ‘social’ nature is also the reason why many organizations, or people within organizations, are afraid of utilizing these powerful collaboration tools for their benefit.

There are, indeed, some collaboration tools out there that can easily take away from productivity. This is because they focus almost entirely on socializing, while leaving little room to actually get work done. The best collaboration platforms will, in fact, increase productivity, while bringing a social element into the mix. The key is to have the majority of the focus (i.e. the purpose of the tools available) on work: for example, sharing files, tasks etc. while increasing transparency and lowering the threshold to engage with your coworkers.

Encourage Input

Many managers do not realize that one of the major pros of digital networking within an organization is the way it empowers employees on all levels. Without using it as a tool that encourages employees to come forth with ideas and innovation, you won’t be able to reap the real fruits of this technology. With the right tools in place, you can rest assured that the flow of information and ideas will remain creative and constructive.

If anything, successful corporations lead the league of businesses that have embraced digital networking within their organization. It gives managers more insight and the team more power to drive an enterprise swiftly towards success and growth.

Category: Teamwork, Tips & Tricks


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