Sunset at Montmajour, a work of art by Van Gogh, originally believed to be a fake, recently was authenticated due to to extensive research conducted by the Van Gogh Museum. Reading about this made me think about online networking via social media and the whole concept of authenticity.
It has been over three years since I explored the value of authenticity as it relates to networking. Back in June 2010, LinkedIn was a worldwide business oriented community of 65 million registered users. It has since expanded to 225 million users in more than 200 countries. I continue to be an advocate of LinkedIn. It is a great tool to connect with new people outside your immediate sphere of influence, but more importantly a way to aggregate information that enhances your overall business skills/knowledge base.
As I have posted before, there are two types of networkers on LinkedIn. Situational networkers (what’s in it for me) and sustainable networkers (people who sincerely value and nurture long-term connections). Unfortunately as LinkedIn has grown, I have encountered more situational than sustainable networkers. For me, the key difference between the two types of networkers is authenticity! What establishes an individual’s authenticity? For starters, sustainable networkers always listen, engage and establish common interests/bonds. In addition, they are committed to maintaining the connection by consistently checking in and sharing information over the long haul. When I examine some of the initial connections I made when I first stepped up my LinkedIn game, few people outside my original pre-Web 2.0 network have established their authenticity.
When it comes to networking, authenticity is priceless!