If you woke up and you were thrown back in time 50, or even 30 years ago, what would your workplace look like? A day in the life of the average worker would be drastically different than it is today.

Without any real dependence on technology, many of the jobs that existed then simply don’t today. Last week, I discussed the importance of building trust and relationships in a digital age. On the periphery of that conversation was the idea that technology has not only changed how we interact but also how we work and the structure of our work environments.

Working remotely, videoconferencing and solo ventures based primarily in the digital sphere are changing what workplaces look like. This is great for allowing individuals the freedom and flexibility to be their own boss and carve out their own niche in the job world.

Technology, if used well, can also create opportunities for all sorts of amazing collaboration.

The if in that sentence is there because it is very easy to be sucked into the digital rabbit hole and operate in isolation where your only connection to the outside world is made via your keyboard. How do we come back to a happy medium and get the best of both?

We need to connect.

By this, I don’t mean show up to a few random networking events, throw around some business cards and hope for the best. If that’s your plan, you might as well stay home.

We need to connect with intention, using technology and social media sites such as LinkedIn as a complementary tool to those efforts.

For example, if you’re heading to a networking event, put in some legwork before you go and search out some of the attendees. You can kick your efforts up a notch by taking the time to consider how they might help you and how you might be able to help them.

I don’t know if anyone really enjoys networking per se. But, it is a necessary component to success and there is no point in half assing it. If you network, go prepared and follow through. What is the point of going and leaving with a mitt full of business cards only to shove them in a desk drawer?

Have an action plan and follow through with intention. Plan. attend. Follow through. By all means, use social media to connect, research and augment these efforts, but don’t rely on them as the sole medium for connecting.

On the flipside, many interactions and social media based businesses also rely on trust and the power of networking. Take Air BnB or Uber for example – these services operate based on user reviews and the quality of relationships formed via transactions. There is no getting away from networking, in life or online and the basic rules of tact, professionalism and decorum apply, however you decide to connect. The most important thing is that you do.

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