When I say social networking, I don’t mean Twitter or Facebook. Instead, I mean the networking that has gone on ever since humans could communicate. Think of all the learning that happens just rubbing elbows with a friend, family member, colleague, neighbor, or chance acquaintance, where you share information and experiences.
I had never heard about a portable GPS until my friend mentioned it as a way to resolve my driving misadventures.
Standing behind someone at a bird store, I learned to buy peanut pieces and a special bird feeder so that I could attract nut hatches and different woodpeckers to my backyard.
I learned a shortcut to my son’s school from a colleague who used to take his own child to that school.
Over the years, friends and colleagues have given me tips to run my business, find a webmaster, create a marketing brochure, obtain free workshop space, and hire a great accountant.
My son-in-law happened to mention how to buy and sell things on Craig’s List, which is now a solid fixture in my purchasing life.
At the urging of a good friend, I went on a wonderful cruise to Alaska, learning many things about the history, flora, fauna and sea life along the way.
A kind clerk told my daughter and me where to buy her prom dress at another department store!
When I visited to give a workshop, my client and dear friend graciously took me to tour and learn about Amish country, Cape May, and Philadelphia.
I am cutting my long hair. My daughter has taught me by example to send my shorn hair to Locks of Love, so that children with cancer can have the gift of real hair wigs.
My tiny granddaughter showed me that Christmas trees get lonely and like to dance, bough to hand.
My daughter-in-law just gave me the recipe for the scrumptious seven layer bars she had given me as a holiday gift.
Good grief. I just spent over a week in a retirement community helping my mother, who has terribly debilitating sciatica. Every single day, a different resident offered another therapy for us to explore!
Any time you ask a question and get an answer, observe someone else, overhear a conversation, watch an interaction, ask for help or suggestions, that is social networking at its most essential and vibrant level.
Of course, this includes the more formal networking that occurs at professional events, where you share information about products and services with others.
We are social beings and every day we are constantly networking and learning from each other as we simply live our lives.
Next week, we’ll discuss learning opportunities that are specifically geared to the elderly.
May your learning be sweet.