The Value of Social Networking – An Example at Work – and a Challenge for Social Network Members

Since joining the LinkedIN community I have often made note of postings in many groups I belong to about the members' frustration with the "self-serving" type of postings that don't appear to meet the criteria of networking. As someone who has been a strong in-person networker throughout my career, I acknowledge that my opinion has been in agreement with this frustration. However, I found myself absent of an idea that could serve to change things – and then came along a posting by J. Michael Warner of Genesee Crest Ltd.

Michael has started a small business in which he provides online marketing services to help his clients build their brand on the Internet. Because his company is fairly new, Michael put his marketing skills to work and developed a promotional idea he posted on LinkedIN. His promotion involved offering his skills at auction for LinkedIN members – even if the bids were nominal; his thinking being that he could use the auction winner's marketing campaign as a high-profile way to prove the value of his services, thereby serving as a marketing campaign for himself as well.


When I saw Michael's posting I was immediately struck with the thought that this was an opportunity for the type of networking I'm used to seeing – networking that can benefit both parties involved in a very useful way. I responded to Michael's posting with a proposal of my own – if he would select me as the winner of his auction and use his expertise to help me build my company's brand, I would also use my tools (my website, my blog, my LinkedIN postings, my webinars, and my clients) to help promote his services.

I'm happy to report that Michael has accepted my proposal and we will begin immediately helping each other grow our respective firms – all this being done without any exchange of cash in an effort to help each other, and thereby, help our own businesses - the ultimate in effective networking, and the essence of small business in America, in my opinion.


In today's economy it is critical for small business to take up challenge of creating jobs to help, in the words of our new President, "pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin the work of re-building America". Given that the largest percentage of small businesses are started on a shoestring, networking plays a vital role in that revitalization. Therefore, I'm issuing a challenge to the members of LinkedIN – and every other social network – I challenge you to come up with a way to utilize these social networks to develop a means by which you can help another small business that then results in helping your own business grow. If each of us does this just once, think of the tremendous impact this could have on our U.S. economy and that of our global community!
Will you meet this challenge? If you decide to take up the challenge, please send me your stories so I can share them with others in the online community. I look forward to seeing the impact of small business and social networks on re-building our nation's economy and hope that the members of LinkedIN will play a pivotal role in this endeavor! Let's see the REAL power of small business and social networks!

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