When I was sixteen years old, my family moved from sunny Southern California to a small town in Indiana called LaPorte with three weeks remaining of my junior year in high school. To say I was scared or nervous would be an understatement.
I was little prepared for what the Midwest had to offer a sixteen-year old California girl. My family lived at the local Holiday Inn for two weeks, waiting for our furniture to arrive. Our first weekend in LaPorte conjured new fears as I had left behind a boy I really liked and all my friends; I doubted the little, convertible Fiat that I loved to drive would be much fun once Indiana turned into a frozen tundra.
I sat by the hotel swimming pool feeling sorry for myself, wondering how I would ever
fit in. As I sunk into the hot tub, a group of high school boys, not from LaPorte
, invaded the pool area. They were a golf team from a high school further south and in the area for an invitational. One of the boys was a tall redhead with outstanding freckles. His smile lit up my gloomy hot tub as his slipped into the bubbling water. He looked at me, I looked at him and with my braces sparkling, I managed a weak smile. He slid around closer to me and struck up a conversation. I told him my pitiful story to which he intently listened and added his own commentary here and there. We became fast friends and before he left, he gave me his student ID card, vowing I would have no problem fitting in and not to worry. I never saw him again, though I knew I would not forgot him or his name, ever.
That was thirty years ago.
I have often wondered about that red-haired boy and how his life turned out. A few months ago, after years of becoming completely entrenched in social media, I decided to do a google and LinkedIn search. I knew his name, that he went to high school in Indiana, that he most likely went to college in Indiana and that he was a golfer. I immediately found him on LinkedIn and sent him an InMail with a message that started out, "I am not sure if you remember me but we met in a pool in LaPorte, Indiana almost thirty years ago..." To my surprise,
he replied with an, "Of course, I remember you..." and we quickly scheduled a call to play a little catch up.
It was great to talk and share how our paths had twisted and turned since that night so long ago. And actually, it was quite surreal. This time I left our conversation with his virtual business card, instead of his student ID. He owns a promotions company in the Northern Midwest and is now the supplier of all my company's promotional materials/products and I have coached him a bit on how to use social/new media to further promote his business. A contact I made thirty years ago is now a business associate and
dear friend; this was made possible through social/new media. Yes,
that's what I said, you naysayers out there.
People like to do business with people they know.
It's a pretty basic business truth. New media allows for this. Learning about potential clients, vendors, or candidates by reviewing online profiles, turning what could have been an extremely cold call into a warm one. It also assists in re-connecting with folks we haven't seen or heard from in years. I now have a trusted supplier in my contact list that I know has my best interest at heart and will work hard to make sure my company gets the best service and products at a decent price. Would this reunion of sorts have been possible without new media? Not without the help of a private detective, for I only knew his name, state in which he went to school, and a sport he played. His advice is priceless to me as is the business relationship we have developed. It doesn't get much better than that.
© by rayannethorn