One association has been offering online networking meetings every other week since the pandemic started. Many people attended early on, now all these months later, attendance has slowed to a trickle.
There is no shortage of problems with virtual networking. Members don’t want another awkward, stilted, flat, boring, generic, small-talk laden, contrived Zoom call where they watch others talk or participate in forced conversations. But the virtual networking you see now will not be the virtual networking you will see in the future.
Do you remember dial-up modems or bulletin boards? They were sooooo slow and sooooo clunky (but amazing at the time). That was the beginning of the rise of the internet. Internet 1.0. We are at this very same stage with virtual networking. These are the virtual networking 1.0 days.
Virtual networking is clunky for participants. It is hard for organizers to administrate. And it is currently kind of worse than the analog version. But just like all technology (and products and services), the 4.0 days are coming!
What can we expect the development path of virtual networking to look like? Rapid innovation. A focus on the user experience. Integrated options for organizers. All of which means great opportunities for members.
Soon we’ll be able to connect just the right members to solve big problems, shrink the world by including people who could never participate until now and engage members in meaningful dialogue.
Someday we’ll look back and say, “do you remember the old days where we spent all our time in Zoom breakout rooms awkwardly chatting? They were sooooo clunky (but amazing at the time)!”
The first cohort of association professionals is applying for the Virtual Networking Incubator now. Click here for more information.