The Humanity of Networking


By Mark A. Leon

In the spring of 2015, I was asked to represent my company as a speaker in San Francisco for Hirepalooza.  It was an honor to be asked to represent my company’s brand and image, but who would say no to speaking at a conference call Hirepalooza?

The few days I spent there speaking, listening and most importantly engaging, reminded me of the essence of recruitment.  From the resumes stored in file cabinets to Chrome Extensions allowing you to track down any human being, one element has remained over the years, the human relationship.

I went out there thinking everyone wanted to work for a start-up, work 100 hours a week for three to five years and then drive off into the sunset with their Tesla and big bag of money.  It turns out my stereotype was shattered.  What I did find were many intelligent young students and professionals that are struggling with the same concerns we all have about careers and the future.

During the conclusion of day one, I was sitting with two academic students during the post seminar networking event and I asked them both, “What Makes You Great”.  They both laughed and shrugged their heads.  Neither had an answer.  I continued saying that we are all filled with greatness.  It is a pool of passion, courage, risk and determination.  It is the combination of those energy sources that takes your from mediocrity to greatness.  Once you find your own personal inner greatness, you can’t ever not succeed in life.

I continued for several more conversations with these students even after I returned to the East Coast providing some level of counseling and advice.

This past Friday, I spoke with David, a UC Berkeley junior I also engaged with during this event.   This most recent conversation was a result of an email he sent me earlier expressing how discouraged he was with networking and the lack of connection.  Before I even said hello, I told David he was far too young to be this cynical and that life will get more and more challenging with the shift toward digital connections and away from human relationships.

This led into an hour and twenty minute candid discussion of which the entire time I was reminded of what an important connection I had made.

David is at least twenty years my junior, but I can learn as much from him about life than anyone else in my inner circle.  He is wise beyond his years and sees the world from a new digital perspective.  He was raised on the mobile phone, apps, computers and gaming.  I think Wiffle Ball, tag and running bases are foreign terms to him.


He sees the present from an immediacy perspective.  I see it from a watch the sunset and lay under the stars ideology.  He sees responsiveness as immediate based on sound bite approaches.  I see calculated responses based on research and understanding.

Still, we talked and talked and talked.  At the end of the conversation, he had to go pack for a trip to Oregon where he and some friends were going to be in the great outdoors without wifi for a few days.  It was a fitting reminder of what a life can be when you connect to all the elements.

I live in a world with 8000 LinkedIN connections, 2800 Facebook Friends, 12,000 Twitter Followers, 16,900 Instagram Followers, 2700 Pinterest Followers and 5 close friends.  I’m sure that sounds familiar to many.

I still believe in a common truth that human connection will always be the key to personal happiness.  I believed that when I chased my brother around the block on my bike when I was 10 years old and I believe that today.

David is that living breathing evidence of a connection I made in 2015 that remains strong today.   He sought me out for advice on careers and I learned a little about life.

At the end of the day, a tiny piece of electronics will make our lives easier, but human emotion will make it fulfilled.



LinkedIn Increases Social Sharing Options – Creative Professional Efficiencies Brought to you by the letter “E” (Like the Sesame Street Reference)

Featured by: Lisa Barone is Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer at Outspoken Media, Inc., an Internet marketing company that specializes in providing clients with online reputation management, social media services, and other Internet services.

Because syncing with Twitter wasn’t enough, professional social network LinkedIn has taken further steps to increase the site’s social sharing aspect for SMBs and business professionals. As of yesterday, sharing news on LinkedIn got a whole lot easier with the adoption of a bunch of new site features. Here’s a look at the best of what’s new.

Better Controls

One of the most useful parts of Facebook has always been the ability to control which members of your network have access to which information. For example, you could set your filters so that your family and professional contacts were seeing different items and updates. LinkedIn has finally adopted this feature, giving users’ complete control over who sees which updates – whether it’s everyone, specific connections, a group you belong to or a specific user. Depending on how you use your LinkedIn statuses, this can be a really powerful way to target individual pieces of content toward the right audience. It gets rid of that firehouse effect that we often get trying to share information in social networking and ciphers directly into the group you’re most interested in reaching. This is a nice add from LinkedIn.

Better Sharing Ability

Much of yesterday’s announcement focused the new sharing options available to help promote content on the site. If you’re a regular Facebook user, many of the new additions will seem pretty intuitive. Mostly, because you’ve used them all before. Some of the new adds include:

Images and Article excerpt: Complete control over the image and excerpt (like!) used when sharing news articles or bog posts.
See and delete your own posts: Ability to preview, edit, and delete a status message. [Typos are credibility killers.]
Enhanced re-share options: One-click reshare button to make it easier for others to pass on your content (and for you to pass on other people’s content). There’s also a new attribution feature that will give credit to the original sharer of the article, which I like. Anything that you publicly share will appear on your profile to keep it fresh, show people what you’re about, and to highlight personal expertise.
LinkedIn says they’ll also be making it easier to share content off-site and once again encourage the use of LinkedIn’s own URL shortener,

While the changes announced aren’t drastic, I think they’ll do a nice job increasing the social feel of LinkedIn. I think many SMB owners shy away from LinkedIn because they see it as the stuffier of the social networks, but these new features will help to change that. By making it easier to share content and making that content (and its sources) more prominent, it helps keep constant life on the site and creates more incentive for participation. The more life, the more people will keep coming back – to check out the profiles, to participate in the discussion groups and to be part of the community as a whole.

We’ve previously mentioned some fun ways to get more out of LinkedIn, and I’d really encourage SMB owners to set up shop on the site, if they haven’t already. Not only are there great networking opportunities, but the new features announced yesterday really make it an even better place to share and promote content.