Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
A while ago I received one of many invitations to connect on LinkedIn from a person whose face seemed familiar, so I decided to check out their profile and found that it was an acquaintance that a friend had presented me to some time ago. When I discovered the link, I wrote to him to say hi and ask him how were things. As a reply, he sent me a short, brief message in which he said my profile had appeared among the possible known contacts and he had added me because he “was extending his network of contacts.”
Beyond any emotional reaction that I could have to such a cold response, I was surprised at his idea of “extending a network of contacts”, as if he acted the same way in each link, he would end up with a great many number of connections, but what use would they be? What do many people understand by “contact?”
Internet and the social networks have brought a revolution in the way we communicate, extending exponentially the number and type of people we associate with on a daily basis. It’s amazing! Exchanging information quickly and constantly increases our ability to act, enriches our social life and encourages collective creativity. However, we can’t forget that this is only possible when real social links are built.
Size matters? Having a large number of contacts within a click doesn’t provide any benefits if we don’t make the effort to get to know them even slightly and know who we are addressing. An amorphous audience with whom we have nothing in common is like talking to a wall without expecting it to respond.
We need to remember that new communication 2.0 tools (or whatever they are called) are just that: instruments for improving and promoting personal communication, something that we need to work constantly by actively listening, treating others on a one-to-one basis, watching our verbal and non-verbal language, our attitude to life… Otherwise, it’s like putting the best scalpel on the market in the hands of a person who hasn’t the remotest idea about medicine. So let’s take advantage that that Latinate word contact (con with + tangere touch) constantly reminds us of that need and take care of our relationships with a smile, a please, a thank you, or a cheers, as mastering the essence of communication not only requires knowing its function, but knowing how to use it wisely.