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Online networking increases while offline networking declines : Harris Survey

Online networking is on the rise, while offline networking is on the decline, per a study commissioned from Harris Interactive by local Seattle startup Wetpaint.

…60 percent of online adults in the U.S. think the sense of community in the offline world is weakening. But about 80 percent think the Internet is a good way to introduce people who wouldn’t otherwise meet.

This has big implications for lawyers and other professional service firms. Marketing for such firms is all about networking. It’s how we let our target audience know our expertise and obtain work. Now that offline networking is on the decline, online networking is where it’s at.

Blogging is all about online networking. You listen to to the discussion involving your target audience via RSS feeds. You engage in the discussion by commenting and posting, and empower your readers to share your content and expertise by posting good stuff on your blog.
Online networking has it all over offline networking. You reach your audience instantaneously, the reach is much broader, it’s done without leaving the office, and the archives of digital discussion are preserved for years.

As way of background, Wetpaint is launching a free service that lets users easily create Web sites on which many contributors may add elements and build a full conversation. It started when a friend of its founder and CEO, Ben Elowitz, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and went online for information. The friend found lots of clinical information but not advice from other cancer patients in treatment centers. Other patients answered questions for him. Wetpaint created a Web platform where people can easily exchange information.

Lest you think there’s not money in these sorts of ventures, Webpaint closed a $5.25 million round of financing last October.

Thanks to the Business & Technology section of our Seattle Times which features a start up each Monday morning.

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