Where Facebook falters ..

Facebook has revolutionized the way we communicate, but not without limitations. According to research, social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are great at two things. They help us keep in touch with existing friends. Secondly, they allow us to reintegrate our networks so that, rather than having several disconnected subsets of friends, we can build one virtual community.

The research by Robin Dunbar who is a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Oxford shows that making new friends require considerable emotional investment and face-to-face interaction. He says, “emotional closeness declines by around 15 percent a year in the absence of face-to-face contact, so that in five years someone can go from being an intimate acquaintance to the most distant outer layer of your friends”.

The idea of Spotluch is to make people meet in person. In that respect, Spotlunch is a nice compliment to existing social networks.

The new formula for power networking – Make new friends through Spotlunch and keep in touch with them through Facebook.

Tearing down silos .. one lunch at a time

Do silos in your organization fail you? The solution could be as simple as getting employees to meet and talk with each other. This is the advice that Mark Gumz, CEO of Olympus has to offer (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/business/13corner.html). “Tearing down the silos” sounds like a grand gesture, but it may start with a lunch.

In his own words, “I don’t allow people to eat their lunch at their desk. You have to go to the cafe. I want you to take a break and talk to other people in the company. It’ll be the rule as long as I’m the C.E.O.”

Now more than ever the power of networking is being recognized. Strong relationships are the basis for successful businesses, organizations and for personal (career) growth alike. As Keith Ferrazi states in his book, Never Eat Alone “Your network is your net worth” .

Gumz takes to this to heart when he says “…you have tables where you tell people where they’re going to sit — they don’t sit with the people they work with because you want them to meet new people. …it’s incredible what happens when people start to talk to other people in the business. We’re starting to see people moving around in the company — that’s how you build careers for people. I think that’s how a company becomes stronger and stronger, and that’s how passion is developed… And if you do it often enough, people feel comfortable with trying new ideas.”

We share the same ideas as Gumz. Go ahead and spotlunch next time. You might be on your way to breaking a silo!