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Social (Support) Networks

by Randall Craig on March 23, 2010

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Networking, Social Media

Tagged as: , ,

What happens when you are stumped? In the “olden days” of just 3-4 years ago, you would apply time to the problem, researching different alternatives until you had a viable solution. If you were more clever, you’d reach out to your network – working the phone and email until you found someone who could help.

We use these same techniques today: research and network, but sometimes not in the most efficient way.

Research: At one point research meant a trip to the library, quietly pouring over reference books, old trade magazines, and other material. Today, research means a visit to “Dr. Google”, with a potential detour to visit Wikipedia. Then a whole bunch of scanning, clicking, copying, and pasting.

Network: In the past, engaging your support network meant going for coffee, a meal, or perhaps a phone call. Today, your support network is embedded within Facebook, LinkedIn, and industry discussion forums – and includes people you have a relationship with – and those that you don’t.

For those of us who are wired into Social Networks, we too often forget about the benefits of direct human contact, for both research and networking. For those who aren’t “Socially” wired, consider the vast pool of expertise online, and that some people might actually prefer to interact this way. Social Networks aren’t just for socializing or networking – they’re also there for support.

This week’s action item: When you’re next stumped – or just looking for support – try operating in both modes – not just the one you’re most comfortable. This might mean “putting a question out there” for the very first time, or just picking up the phone.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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