Young Adult Networking
I attended a social event the other night which was co-hosted by a young adult ministry and a campus ministry which brought together college students and professionals in their 20’s- 30’s. It was a very simple event where we all sat around a table chatting with whomever was within arms distance, eating pizza, and having a few drinks (for those over 21). It wasn’t set up as a traditional “networking” event, but any event is a networking event to some extent and we were there to get to know some of our fellow parishioners in an informal setting.
Sitting directly around me were my boyfriend- a young professional, a currently enrolled college senior who works on campus and has no idea what he will do next year, and two recent college graduates who are searching for serious career positions while working at jobs that they care nothing about in the grand scheme of things. Aside from most of us having attended the same college and church, the one thing that they all had in common was the desire to find a better job. Everyone was frustrated with the scarcity of positions available in their fields at the moment.
What struck me was the difference in the style of networking done in casual social situations by these young adults when compared to similar events I’ve attended with older participants. We all discussed what we had studied or were studying in college, what jobs were currently worked, and what careers we were striving for. Before we left the table I had two new Facebook friends and a new connection on Linkedin and plans to connect on other platforms upon returning home. I was the only one in the group who had a business card. No one asked “if” anyone was on Facebook, they just asked how to spell last names so we could find each other. Not having an account wasn’t a consideration; it’s just assumed that you have one.
The two girls who have recently graduated college and are in the market for jobs have connected with me so that they can get more information about local networking events. They are looking to foster relationships with people, especially women, who can help them get the inside lead on positions in their fields. To them online networking is just an extension of face to face networking and a natural progression. There is very little difference to them to online and offline association, since one is just an extension of the other.
I know there are plenty of statistics to show differences in the way various generations use social networking, but it still surprises me when I see the stark contrast in person. What have you noticed?