handshakingWith all due respect to our FABULOUS technology/media guru, Jamie Ginsburg, I’m still a fan of old-fashioned face-to-face networking. The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about the Wednesday 10, a social/business networking group started by William Safire in 1930 that still exists today. The members of the Wednesday 10 (all males, self-made, and primarily Jewish) described the advantages of old school networking: When member Mort Janklow made a career switch from corporate attorney to literary agent, fellow member columnist William Safire offered himself as a famous first client. When Robert Menschel, a senior director at Goldman Sachs, was considering deals involving large consumer companies, he would pick the brain of fellow club member Ed Meyer, the former chief executive of Grey Advertising.

“The Wednesday 10 comprised, at various points, more than 20 men; the goal was a number small enough to maintain intimacy yet large enough to ensure that at least 10 members would show up for each of the monthly Wednesday-night meetings. No more than two representatives of any one industry were permitted. The idea was to combat insularity, to keep the men connected to people and events outside their own professions.”

While criticized by some for the homogenous nature of the group, the lesson is not lost that networking is not only a way to keep socially connected, but it is a significant component in business/client development, marketing and keeping abreast of the quickly changing business environment.

I find this topic of interest because I struggle with mixing business and “friendship” online…do my Facebook “friends” really want to get my blog posts? Is it appropriate to “friend” a client, etc… While I tend to be somewhat old school in this area, I was recently reminded that there is a place for both old-fashioned and online networking when I was approached at a face-to-face networking event by an online friend who told me that he was a fan of the Warren & Hays Facebook page and would not have otherwise known what I did professionally. So while the etiquette is still somewhat murky, it appears that business is best served by a combination of online and good ole-fashioned networking.