When I was at Cornell University, we had what we referred to as face time. Not sure if the term is still used so I will explain. Face time was usually a weekly or twice a month event in which we set aside our studies to take a little time to talk, relax and have fun. Although that night off from studies usually meant working twice as hard the next couple nights to get caught up, face time was valuable time. As MasterCard might say, face time=priceless. The face to face meetings served to energize and rejuvenate our spirits. As undergraduates, many of us were in competition with one another to get the better grade or the better TA assignment, yet come face time, we put that competition aside and enjoyed each others company.
A couple of months ago, I attended Search Engine Strategies (SES) NY. Asked to sum up the event I would have to say it was good face time.
I spent a couple hours walking around the exhibits. Although I was rather surprised at the number of people at SES who really do not know what affiliate marketing is, I did manage to have a few worthwhile conversations at several booths. On the surface SES might seem more geared for merchants but I think it also serves affiliates. And if nothing else, I look at this as a chance to practice and gear up for other industry events.
I did manage to meet up with a few other affiliate marketers including one who I had previously only met online. Of course, it is always nice to have a chance to talk with someone who truly understands what you do for a living, but meeting up at SES or other industry events means a little more. It is always great face time. Working online and communicating via phone, email or online chat is great but I think we all need a little face to face meeting. It’s often said that the internet has brought the world closer. Though I live in NY, I have friends not only from virtually every state but also from countries throughout the world. So while the world has gotten closer, I think we also have begun to seclude ourselves a bit, working from home and relying on electronics for communication. Working primarily online can be very lonely.
Getting back to SES, my fellow affiliates and I stood around for a while catching up on each other news and getting to know each other outside a forum. We also spoke about some typical affiliate issues – hosting, rankings, getting traffic and of course, recent industry news. The conversations were much the same as what goes on at ABW and other forums, sharing of ideas and even random thoughts, both business and non business related. It is the same thing that goes on after hours or on break time in a more traditional workplace.
After SES, an affiliate friend and I went out to dinner. We spoke a little business, a little about the Yankees and Mets and other typical dinner topics. As I sat at home afterwards I thought about the day. All in all it was a worthwhile time. I picked up an idea or two at SES but also something else happened. At the end of the day I felt a little refreshed, a little more energized.
Networking is a part of any industry event. Some people find it easier to network in person, others need to build up to in-person networking by first networking in the virtual world and still others prefer to skip it all. There is sometimes a little misconception about attending these industry events. At any of these events we do talk a little business and probably share a drink or two, but for the most part we are not forming secret alliances. Industry get togethers are the only chance some of us have to talk with someone who understands our business. Sure, we may be forming or solidifying friendships, but for the most part we are simply putting aside our business competition and talking, relaxing, and enjoying the company. We are just doing face time.
With all the recent tension and turmoil in the affiliate industry I think we all need a little face time. We just may need to step away from the written word which can often be misinterpreted. We need to sit down, face to face, and talk.
The affiliate world needs a little face time.