Friday, December 14, 2007

The Power of Social Networking

EO Overdrive

The Power of Social Networking
By Jonathan Smith, EO Detroit

I keep getting stumped with questions that I cannot answer, and it frustrates me. I am a guy, and, as many women can attest to, guys are better at solving problems than they are at listening.

My girlfriend had some questions about how we should handle certain situations in our life. Being the guy that I am, I immediately tried to find the right answer. When I answered with a positive spin, she would play devil’s advocate and give me all the reasons why the negative answer was more plausible, and vice versa. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

This conversation was not going as well as I would have liked, so I went to my fall-back plan: the Internet and the world of social networking. I suggested that she consider posing these questions to a greater audience, and maybe we would gain some wisdom that we could not come up with on our own.

She is pretty innovative and open to new ideas, so she immediately went online to Yahoo! Answers and started tapping into the network. Within 30 minutes of asking her first round of questions, she had 16 answers. Twenty-five percent of the answers were very helpful, 50 percent were neutral and twenty-five percent were not helpful. After reviewing the answers to the first question, she realized that she needed to refine her question in order to dig deeper into the wisdom of this online community. The answers she received helped us come up with a mutually agreeable plan of action, and they ultimately saved us hundreds of dollars in counseling fees!

Of course, Yahoo! Answers isn’t an infallible source of infinite wisdom. But, as legendary American football coach Vince Lombardi said, a group effort usually leads to better, and more well-rounded, results.

The beauty of social networking is that the tools are right at our fingertips. We just need to be aware of them and their potential applications and be willing to experiment with them to create outstanding results.

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