The Pros and Cons of Networking

You’ve probably heard the expression ‘It’s not what you know, its who you know’. If you are developing a career in the media or creative industries this certainly seems to be true.

Certainly, your contacts and your ability to network is going to help you progress in a highly competitive industry. However, it is easier said than done.

I had an interesting discussion with MA Media students yesterday about the challenges and difficulties associated with networking, particularly when you are new to an area.

No one argues that networking is not important and there is quite a bit of information out there such as Creative Choices tips for networking creatively. But how do you get in the network? Who opens the first door for you? You can turn up to an event but students argues that you need someone to introduce you.

David Lee’s research paper entitled Networks, cultural capital and creative labour in the British indepdendent television industry examines networking practices including mechanisms for excluding individuals. He suggests that social networks are important and describes them as relatively informal. They depend on one’s cultural capital based on class, education, location and socio-economic status. He states:

While social capital is the vital ingredient in terms of negotiating the precarious nature of freelance labour market in the independent television industry, cultural capital acts as the means by which an individual amasses this social capital, and gains access to the resources of  the network.

Discussions about networking, as it relates to enterprise, tend to focus on ‘how to’. Would it be useful to also take a critical look at networks and networking? At least to raise awareness? Even if it is a necessary evil!



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4 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Networking

  1. When I was 13, I accessed network only because of I was a big fan of Backstreet Boys and I needed to search like hell to get all their information. So I think people don’t need anyone to introduce them get in the networking, all you need is desire and insistent motivation.
    I was major in Electronic Commerce in College 2003, Ebay was just rising up at that time, so we could understood what a significant influence from networking was happening to the enterprise. The Internet not only provide the social environment, but also make the commerce and business are free to cross the space, and all the time they’ve saved means gaining benefit as well.

  2. The networking issue needs to be addressed subject to the interests or business you are in. While it is by no means a rule to be introduced to someone at a networking meeting and passion and determination play an important role, a word or two of introduction from a common acquaintance can make a big difference. Informal networking where you are just looking for like minded people is entirely different from business networking where you want to pitch an idea, sell a business or get remarked for a job. Business people are, well, busy, and might not even remember your name or your game changing multi million dollars idea if they wouldn’t hear from it from a partner or acquaintance. At the same time you, who’s trying to sell his idea, pitch his potential money making enterprise are as busy as they are and need to focus your efforts and calculate time so that you can take care of your business as well. In such a situation strategy becomes you’re best friend. In order to make the best of networking you try to make the best of the resources you have, or the people you know. The paradox is then that when you don’t know anyone it is so much more difficult to get ahead and get you’re ideas through keeping in mind that we are all tied by deadlines (from paying the bills to delivering a project) that are most of the time set by other people because we don’t act in a vacuum space.

  3. To be honest I hate networking, especially the enforced icebreaker type activities we’ve all had to endure at corporate away days. If I really want to network effectively, it’s important to be focused and do your research beforehand. If you’re attending an event, identify your top targets and find out something interesting about them that you can use as a conversation starter – what football team they support, what their first job was, etc. That can get things off on an informal footing and can lead to more serious discussions about other topics. I would much rather spend half an hour dipping into an event to approach my key targets than wander aimlessly and nervously around a conference hall all day waiting for someone to take pity on me and introduce me to people.

  4. People tend to amass into big groups, it’s a nature thing about human beings. As the Internet thing make everything easier, it does not make the network with people easier than before. Yes, we get to know others much convenient and easier, we chat, we make friends. But obviously, one to one communication, real life communication is still the core of social life and how one get into himself a network. Only in this way individuals gain the trust of others and feel safety. We can build a network with others through internet, but as easier it built, as easier it crushes.

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