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Doesn’t matter who you know

There is an old adage that says “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. It has always been the harsh truth that confronts most new job seekers and graduates and with rising unemployment this is even more the case. But just as the job market has changed in the last decade, so too should this little saying be amended.

Today we are more interconnected than we have ever been. There are opportunities across all fields and in all countries, for those who have initiative and a bit of hustle (thanks GaryVee). But at the same time, many GenYs have a disconcertingly false sense of the significance of the vast connections that we so easily develop. Many of us get caught up in the numbers and ignore the essence of friendships (physical or virtual) – the relationship.

But for those who see social media as a business opportunity and not simply the social utility that it started out as, you need to find a way to measure the validity and integrity of your connections. Now of course there’s the argument that if I have 10 000 Facebook friends and I send them all a message about my business or idea, I am going to get some interest. But the numbers game is past tense. It is one way communications and will not keep you competitive. Sure, we all know, content is king. But the power of social networks is in the reciprocity and interconnectedness that can distribute your content and get people talking about it. For this to happen, you need to be in touch with the correct consumers of your content and, by implication, your message. In the physical environment, we have always drawn a distinction between friends and acquaintances. Discard this construct in the social media setting and you are fooling yourself into a false sense of comfort.

The way I see it, today it is not who you know, but about who actually cares that you know them enough to go out to bat for you. Keep talking to them!

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