Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Networking Failure

When I first started in the feed business, the "good ole boys" network frustrated me to no end. I could have a better product, better price and a better group of specialists behind me, and yet not get the business. Over time I became a part of that network, and came to understand why that network existed. People are comfortable with, and do business with, people they like. As I get older, I'm finding it takes less time to find the resources that I need, because I know people who know people. Our like interests make us really good at networking.
Up to a point.
I took a trip out west to visit the World Ag Expo 2012 (#wae12) recently. Thousands of folks attend. While there, I got to participate in a tweetup.  About 15 of us showed up. Fifteen. One five.
We had a ball. Great people. @rayprock @funwithbulls @griminuscattleco the list goes on, for another dozen or so. Great networking time. And we are pretty in touch with the ag folks on twitter.
So how many people in the US population at large are using social media? The best answer a friend could come up with was about 50%. If our #wae12 tweetup was an indication of the number of ag people involved, well, the term epic fail comes to mind.  We need to be intentional in reaching outwards, not inwards.
But beyond the fact that we are outnumbered and outgunned, are we just talking to each other?
Sometimes we just talk to each other.
So here's the challenge. Once you get involved in social media, expand your reach. Look for groups with interests outside of the ag community. Running, cooking, even parenting have their own online communities.
Extend your Ag reach. No more just chatting with the choir.