It’s no secret that most business decisions have always happened in old boys’ clubs, over drinks or golf or both. But now we do a lot of our socializing online. How many startups have been born from interest-based communities on the internet?
The same necessary camaraderie springs up just as easily from internet associations as from face to face ones for me, and for many people accustomed to socializing on the internet. Part of that is a paradigm shift from when I first started using computers, where I was explicitly warned by mentors that most of the people I met online would be predators and liars, and I’d never know who they really were or how old they were or where they lived, so I should never, ever give out personal information lest I be kidnapped.
This was before Facebook.
Now, while we don’t bandy our mailing addresses about on public forums, those people I’ve met on writing forums I know as people, not Random Internet Strangers. We’ve talked story ideas, bemoaned the night shift, watched the hilarious faces one of our number makes when she has to take her cold medicine. And, when one or more of us has an idea, it’s this network of like-minded individuals who come together and discuss it.
I’ve had a couple major ventures come out of my online networking; Theory Train and Lunatic Writers. They never would have come into existence if it weren’t for my finding a group of like-minded friends on the internet.
As valuable as local groups and workshops are, it never hurts to be open to the possibilities inherent in new media.