One of the things I LOVE about networking is getting to meet people who you wouldn't normally run into in your daily life. I am THRILLED to have met Alyssa Mangaoang at our March 2018 LinkedInLocal San Jose. She's a talented young woman and I am so pleased that she agreed to be a guest blogger and write about the event! - Tracey Lee Davis
When people think of social media, their immediate thoughts go to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, but there’s one that people forget about. That platform is home to one of the strongest online communities on the Internet. It’s not Facebook. It’s not Instagram. It’s none of the above. It’s LinkedIn, and its users are taking “community” to the next level.
The physical manifestation of this community is LinkedIn Local, a spin off of your traditional ‘networking’ event. Unlike most networking sessions, you’ve already seen these people online, interacted with them, and maybe even built a relationship. LinkedIn Local simply takes that relationship to the next level by moving it offline and pushing in-person interaction. But here’s the catch -- LinkedIn Local isn’t an official LinkedIn program. LinkedIn Local is a non-profit, organic, grass-roots movement generated 100% by LinkedIn creators who love the platform and the people on it. Since the first LinkedIn Local launched in the small Australian city of Coffs Harbour, they’ve popped up in cities all across the globe. San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley, is no exception.
LinkedIn Local San Jose was organized by LinkedIn enthusiasts Tracey Lee Davis and Sandra Clark. All funds raised through ticket sales were used to pay for the venue and logistics of the event accordingly. The excess of these funds was then donated to the Sacred Heart Community Services Job Link Program, which provides “employment assistance and financial coaching to help individuals build a pathway to economic self-sufficiency.” In doing so, LinkedIn Local San Jose further epitomizes the idea of community, even beyond the platform itself.
As you walk into the Mosaic Restaurant and Lounge where the second LinkedIn Local San Jose was being held on March 21, you could feel the energy buzzing. Scores of people gathered in small groups, and as you glide through the room you could overhear a variety of conversations from the typical “What do you do for a living?” to the ”Wow, how’s your kid doing?” to the “Let’s collaborate on a video NOW!” The spontaneity and raw energy that permeated the room was intoxicating, but perhaps what was most impactful was the authenticity of each individual. Every person I met was excited to share their stories and to hear others’ stories as well. It didn’t matter if you were in your early twenties or your sixties or if you were an engineer or marketer. As someone would speak in a group, all eyes would be on them. Heads would be nodding in agreement, and you could just tell - they’re actually listening to you. You would speak and interact with an attentiveness reminiscent of the days when social media didn’t exist. You’ve never been to a “networking event” quite like this one.
That’s because Linkedin Local San Jose isn’t just a meetup or networking event. Instead, it’s a community gathering for creators and non-creators alike. It’s a place where it doesn’t matter how old you are or what you do - only that you want to learn and get to know the people there. It’s a place where value is measured in connections made and lessons learned. And it’s a place that wouldn’t exist without that ‘forgettable’ social media platform.
The third LinkedIn Local San Jose is scheduled for May 10th. Will you be there?