December 3, 2007

Four Degrees of Separation

Posted in Community, Friends, Job Hunt, Maria, Networking tagged , , , , , , , at 3:31 pm by Maria

Last year I attended a PRSSA meeting at BU. One of the many things the speaker talked about that night really stuck with me — you never know when you are going to meet your next boss. Amanda‘s recent post College Kids Party; I Network reminded me of this. I don’t mean this in the swarmy way like Chris Brogan mentioned in his comments on Amanda’s post. What I took this piece of advice to mean is that jobs don’t just happen by submitting a resume and going on an interview. ‘It isn’t what you know, but who you know’ wouldn’t be a cliche if there wasn’t some truth to it. 

In this new age of building relationships, knowing people is what it is all about. And not just collecting business cards, actually getting to know people. Pose in pictures as Amanda suggests. One link leads to another to another and so on. Which brings in the whole concept of six degrees of separation. More like four. I can get to almost anyone in four steps or less. The more people I meet, the fewer the degrees separate me from the rest of the world.

Take this semester for example: Last spring I needed a fourth class to add to my schedule.  I had had Professor Quigley for my intro to PR class and had loved him so I looked to see if he was teaching any other classes. He was – Special Topics: Interactive PR. Translation = new media. One of the first classes, Amanda mentioned PodCamp. She then told the class about Twitter. It took her a while to convince me that it wasn’t stalkerish, but I finally decided to give it a whirl. And what a reception! By the time PodCamp rolled around, meeting people like Bryan Person and Laura Fitton aka Pistachio in person for the first time, was like reuniting with an old friend. Through them I have met others; I’ve gotten advice from new grads like Yianni Garcia, guidance from Len Edgerly, had my eyes opened to a whole new world of possibilities by Jeff Pulver, and have had a whole lot of laughs with Steve Garfield.


I recent wrote a post on my personal blog Thru My Green Eyes about my New Media Friends and how they are the strongest community in my life. I didn’t “network” in order to get a job, but to make friends. And I have. I’ve also made some great job related connections through those friends. 

So, “networking” may have a bad rap, but getting out there, and getting to know people is the best thing you can do. Even though I am always one of the youngest people in the room, I have been greeted with arms wide open.

So. Party, give book suggestions, ask questions, have dinner, tweet, link, and everything else in between.



  1. […] Four Degrees of SeparationBy MariaOne link leads to another to another and so on. Which brings in the whole six degrees of separation. More like four. I can get to almost anyone in four steps or less. The more people I meet, the fewer the degrees separate me from the …On the PRowl – […]

  2. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with networking as long as you don’t do it like a too-slick used car salesman (apologies to too-slick used car salesmen). That means as long as you’re genuinely interested in befriending others and getting involved, people will know you’re not in it just to score a gig.

    In addition to the cliche of “who you know,” I’ve heard it also matters “who knows you.” Case-in-point, a local PR leader I hadn’t met before came up to me at an event and began talking to me about my blog and how she had discussed it with others. It blew my mind; I had no idea.

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