(Social) Networking with the Publishers

Later this week, it will be the publishers hosting various user groups at venues throughout London–and we’ll be covering those events in this blog.

But tonight I had the honor of attending a reception by publishers for publishers.

You may have heard me quip in the past how ironic it is that US publishers tend to meet in bank vaults.  (In recent years both NFAIS and the SIIA have held their annual conferences in beautiful marble buildings that were banks in a former era.)

Continuing in the same vein, tonight’s reception for publishers, hosted by Macmillan Publishing Solutions, brought some very big names together to socialize among a collection of gold and silver objects worth somewhere in the neighborhood of, oh let’s say, £(000-omitted). 

You can go see the Gilbert Collection yourself at Somerset House on the Thames (Temple tube stop, two lefts out of the station).  The once private treasure trove will be moving to the Victoria & Albert Museum early next year.  No pictures were allowed, so you won’t get to see any of the treasures here, but that’s not really the point I have for you tonight.

In between ogling the gilt and chasing down h’or deuvres, something very interesting happened to me tonight.  I think I may have learned something profound about social networking tools.

Here’s what took place . . .

Seeing a familiar face across the room, I went over to say hello to consultant Simon Ingor.  He was talking to a some people from the Nature Publishing Group.   We got to chatting about social media
(Did you know Nature has a place on Second Life called Second Nature?)  . . . and I shared with them my cynicism –or let’s call it my healthy skepticism–about Facebook and LinkedIn, etc, which I have noted here to some extent in my earlier blog post (below).

They opened my eyes to some things, including the fact that when you want to get in touch with somebody you don’t know, it can be very useful to get in touch first with someone that you both know–and that’s an example of where it can be very rewarding to use a social networking tool,like Facebook, where everybody lists all their friends.  

I don’t know, maybe it was just light refracting from the solid gold objects in the room, but suddenly I realized something.

And I said to them, well, Okay . . . wait a minute.  I knew Simon, but I didn’t know any of the rest of you before I came over to say hi to him.  I only know you now because I knew Simon in the past.  And haven’t we just had an interesting talk?  Haven’t we just proved the point?

Networking has always been good for business.  So, I vow to keep an open mind about the potential of social networking tools. 

Thanks to Macmillan Publishing Solutions for the invitation to what proved to be an inspiring evening.

Dick Kaser
ITI, VP, Content

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