Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 27, 2009
I’m a member of a local Chamber of Commerce. Once a month it has breakfast networking, usually at one of the Chamber member businesses. Once a month it has a lunch networking, moving around from a few different restaurants. Then every once in awhile it’s part of helping to host an after hours networking event, always at a Chamber members place, sometimes big, sometimes small.
I can’t say that I’m the master networker. I’m someone who won’t interrupt a conversation if there’s one going on, even if I know the people. If I don’t know them, I’m certainly not stepping into the middle of anything. Sometimes I know people who are there; something I don’t. It seems strange that there are times when I don’t know someone, especially since I’ve been a member 4 years now, and have been to enough of these things.
I’m starting to learn a few things, though. One, the breakfast networking events are, for the most part, useless. Yeah, every once in awhile I meet someone, but there’s no business I’m ever going to get out of it. Sometimes not very many people show up; that’s actually most of the time. The things officially start at 7:30, but people will trickle in until around 8:15 or so. I usually get to these things around 8AM; y’all know I don’t go to bed all that early. This doesn’t give much time for talking to anyone, but truthfully, I’m not much of a talker that early in the morning anyway.
Then it’s time for things to begin. The executive director talks for a bit, then everyone goes around saying their name and the name of their business. No one remembers anyone’s names; it’s kind of a waste if you ask me. Then the host gets at least 15 minutes to talk about themselves and their business; that’s fair. There’s always something to eat, but usually nothing I’ll eat, and something to drink, but nothing I’ll drink. I don’t think I’m going to any more of these.
The luncheons are pretty much the same. You get maybe 15 minutes to try to talk to someone before everything gets going. I’ve shown up early, only to realize that I might be alone because most people aren’t going to show up until around 15 minutes before the meal is served. Anyway, almost every lunch meeting, we end up going around the room introducing ourselves and the name of our business; no one remembers any of it. Then we have a presentation, and often it’s, well, a third class presentation. It’s not really anyone’s fault; not everyone is a professional speaker.
I also have a problem with most of the lunches. I can’t eat pasta or many carbs at lunch time because it puts me to sleep. I understand chicken is relatively inexpensive, but at every meal? I don’t eat the salad because there’s never a dressing I like. And dessert; rarely anything I’d eat (not that I’m supposed to be eating it, but if lunch is lousy at least have a good dessert). I’m considering not going to any more of these either; at $12 a shot, it seems like a terrible use of my time.
Where am I going with this as it relates to the title of this post? Facebook has tons of groups. If they don’t have at least 50,000 groups, I have no concept of how it works. There’s a group for almost anything your heart desires. Yet, for the most part, there’s no real conversation going on in any of them. I don’t always think it’s for a lack of trying; it’s just that people either want controversy, or they just want to lurk, or they join because they’re looking for something, not finding it, and moving on.
Right now I belong to 7 groups; two are groups I created. I used to belong to 13, but I killed the others. I’ve also joined groups, stayed a little while, then left. My reasoning is simple; no one was saying anything. And I don’t mean people were talking but saying nothing; I mean nothing at all.
Out of the groups I belong to now, there’s only one that has even a modicum of conversation, and it’s political. Almost everyone who’s joined the group believes in the same thing; that’s because those who don’t believe have been tossed out. It’s not that the group can’t handle people disagreeing; it’s that the group doesn’t want people coming in with an opposite point of view and suddenly going postal, which they have. They have their own group for that, so the moderator kicks them out. However, that leaves the rest of us without much to talk about all that often; that’s kind of a shame.
With my own groups, I have dismal participation. I’ve come up with enough discussion topics, but no one wants to say anything. I’ve posted links, and posted things on the wall, but without almost any response. It’s like I’m talking to myself; heck, I do that already in my own home, so I’m starting to think I don’t need to do that in public.
There’s this thing about some folks. They like to join stuff, but they don’t want to show themselves. It’s kind of like blogs. If you’re lucky, you have people who are reading your stuff on a consistent basis, but few of them write comments. But many people who don’t see any comments ever coming their way will stop writing entirely; that’s a shame, but it happens.
So, is it that the groups on Facebook are lame, the owners lame, the people who join lame, or am I just being unfair because I’m looking for something that’s just never going to happen? I do know this; I’m going to drop at least 3 groups I’m in now, and then we’ll see about the rest of them. Even my own groups; if no one’s really interested, then why keep it going?
Better uses of time; isn’t that what we all strive for?