Getting out there …

(sigh) Well, regular readers, you may have noticed the lack of a link dump over the weekend … once again, I’d had a “difficult week” and was unable to process as much of my on-going Twitter stream, which meant that I was well short of the number of links ready to pass along to you. We’ll have one this Friday (and probably the next), but it’s a hard discipline scanning through as much data as I do. In a related situation, I also was hoping to have a book to bring you, but I’ve not been able to keep up with that reading either, and I’ve not been able to block out the time to get reviews written (I actually did head out on Sunday to write one, but found every table filled at B&N!). So, big frustrations on the mundane level to go with the bigger frustrations (being in my 29th month “between jobs”) on the existential level. Sucks to be me, eh?

Anyway … today I’m revisiting the concept of networking … and getting out to networking events.

Last Friday I was invited, via some combination of my “hats” of this blog and my work with HyperLocalLIVE, to an event down at Rockit. This was a combination of a program launch party and a fundraiser for the Chicago Public Schools, hosted by VLinks Media. They were announcing both a new venture with test-prep monolith Kaplan Universities, and support for a CPS program that is providing tablet devices in test situations in the school system.

Although I’ve not obtained one for myself as yet (not having a regular paycheck for as long as I have does cut down on buying tech), I have long been an advocate for schools to make the transition from “dead tree” books to their electronic equivalents, which has only increased as I see my kids coming home with 40lb backpacks every day! The list of advantages of moving from old-style textbooks to the e-book version is long … first of all, there’s the convenience of the format, then there’s the ability to have the latest update on the information for every class, every year, it takes the “control” of what’s published out of the hands of Texas (which dictates much of what ends up in ALL textbooks in the current system), and is ultimately cheaper than buying the printed books. India is in the process of providing tablets to all their students, and so the writing’s on the wall for where we should be going.

VLinks Media had a “big check” to hand over to the CPS honchos that were in attendance, in the amount of $10,500.00 (which will buy a bunch of tablets). The company’s main business seems to be developing mobile solutions, but their press materials add: “They have a true belief that education will help to create a better and more prosperous society and that new technologies such as custom educational solutions, iPad applications and advancements, educational social and interactive gaming, and flip technology will bring the educational system as a whole to a completely new level. This will result in an increase in successful graduations and help toward the end of literacy and help to make education fun for all.”

What, you ask, does this have to do with networking? I ended up meeting (and connecting with on LinkedIn) a half dozen “new” companies (some are new start-ups, but they were all “new” to me) that I might not have otherwise gotten to know. Just by “stretching” a bit the scope of what I’m going out for, I may have made the connection that will lead to my next job. A bit of a schmooze here, a favor done there, and you never know what could happen!

So, keep your attention on places you can get out to which will let you meet new people … I know it’s real easy to fall into a pattern of hanging with the same folks week after week, month after month (after all, it takes time to build relationships), but try to get out in front of new faces … and use the tools that are out there (like LinkedIn) to make those connections solid!

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