What is networking, and how can networking increase participation in community development?
‘Networking’ as the name suggests, is a platform of interconnected networks developed to promote connection between people and organizations. On a simpler note it can be defined as the exchange of information and ideas among people having similar interests either in the formal professional sector or an informal social expanse. Professionals use networking to widen their connection with people in order to promote their brand or business. A social group uses networking to gather or connect with like-minded individuals having a common goal. Networking can be carried out both online and offline but the paramount objective should be to develop relationships and boost project prospects.
‘Community networking’ is a particular field in the vast expanse of networking. The most prominent aspect of community networking is the collaboration of people and the synergies that take place for a common goal (Gilchrist, 2000). A healthy social system or community is based on uniformity in behaviour of the participants, knowledge about subjects and regards for negotiation, unbiased objective towards a common goal and creating a safe space within the community.
The foremost benefit of networking comes down to gathering of people sharing the same objective and introducing them to the purpose and challenges of the field that is worked on. The strength in networking empowers people to put in effort for the betterment of the community in whole. Whereas also allowing people to choose their content and services (Ennis & West, 2014).
Extensive networking furnishes people’s mind to work towards a shared goal and collaborate with others, exchanging ideas and views and negotiating on the thoughts shared between them. The key aspect lies in the fact that in this era of compartmentalized society, it brings together people from diverse sectors meeting through media or otherwise (Hardcastle, Powers & Wenocur, 2004).
It is note-wotrthy how in this dynamic world the thread of networking promotes engagement in various new projects, blogs and groups that would remain static for years to come, if proper and sustained maintenance is carried out. An interconnected community is achieved when people feel in sync with the wide web, online presence, interchange of formal and informal information and a security in their offline-lives as well.
There exists professional networking platforms that engage in offering job opportunities to people and prospective employers can apply thus, promoting employment and job security. A community will only flourish if the people constituting the community are satisfied with their lifestyle and feel safe in their working environment (Kenny, 2011).
Through networking, personal development is possible as well. We are a part of diverse culture and societal backgrounds where the lesser-advantaged sectors of the community often get overlooked. Networking and connecting with people ensures that the societal gap is filled and all works towards the same motive, exchanging ideas even if on different levels. All in all it creates an independent and secured society.
To conclude, the system of networking will have a futuristic development in communities to work effectively and with zeal. Cutting-edge technologies in recent times have already precipitated the growth of healthy communities, the maintenance of such developments are now in our hands.
Ennis, G., & West, D. (2014). Community Development and Umbrella Bodies: Networking
for Neighbourhood Change. British Journal of Social Work, 44(6), 1582–1601.
Gilchrist, A. (2000). The well-connected community: networking to the edge of chaos. Community Development Journal, 35(3), 264–275. https://doi.org/10.1093/cdj/35.3.264
Hardcastle, D. A., Powers, P. R., &Wenocur, S. (2004). Theory-based, model-based community Practice. New York: Oxford University Press. https://ereadings.cdu.edu.au/eserve/cdu:19896/Er08162.pdf doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bct010
Kenny, S. (2011). Developing communities for the future (4th ed.). Cengage Learning Australia Pty Ltd.