The Power of Social Networking

“It’s not what you know, but who you know”.

While visiting my home state for the Christmas Break, I heard some friends talking about the “Good Old Boy Network” they noticed in their jobs.

“It’s not what you know, but who you know”, they quoted.

It’s true.  People are social.  We like swapping favors.  We play the “You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” game.   Sometimes we are a little more selfless than that, but we like to share experiences and help each other out.  Have you ever asked a friend for a favor?  Did they help you pack when you moved?  When you knew the person you liked would be at a game night, did they go with you as your wing-man?  People are social.  You get ahead in life when you know people.  People help you, you help them.  That being said, who wouldn’t want to under social networking?

To illustrate the point, let’s say you need an apartment.  You can talk to the manager, tour an apartment, find out the cost of rent, the apartment’s distance from your work or school, etc…  That is the “what you know” part.  What you know is not enough.  “Who you know”, your friends, can tell you the unseen things about the apartment, like what the social life is like, what the neighborhood is like, which apartment is renovated and which one isn’t even though both cost the same, whether or not management responds to maintenance requests, or how to get special deals.  It’s the “who you know” that will get you places.

Manuel Castells, author of the assigned reading snippet “Afterword: Why Networks Matter” added that networks are important not only because people like to share, but because in a global society, networks are the prime form of governance and source of entertainment.

Think about it: Pinterest, the online bulletin board for ideas, is way more successful because it is built on a social network.  People joined Pinterest, and invited their friends to join.  Friends can see each others’ friends post.  We don’t just search on Google for information anymore; we search on our friends Pinterest pages for what they thought was cool.

I once heard of a really smart guy who utilized the social network power of Pinterest.  His crush agreed to go on a first date with him, and he wanted to make sure that she would enjoy the night.  So, he looked on her Pinterest page to see what kinds of things she might enjoy doing on a date.  The evening was a success!  She loved it.  The guy planned a personalized date because of the things he could find out from a social network.

As Manuael Castells summarized, “Networks are the Underlying structure of our lives.” We need to understand them to use them for good.

Let’s take a look at social networking in the early days of the church. From the assigned chapter, “Chapter 5: The Church of Christ”, we see the power of knowing someone.  In the church, what you know IS important, but you need to share it with who you know so you can share the most good.

At the very first meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, there were only six members of the church.

Because of Joseph Smith sharing the gospel with his family and those around, the Smith family, close friends of the Smith family, the Whitmer family, members of the Jolly and Rockwell families, Joseph Knight Sr. and several members of his family, Abner Cole, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and Thomas Marsh were baptized.

He also preached to 40-50 people in attendance, and even though not all of them joined the church, he made several impressions.

Oliver Cowdery went on to preach, and baptized 14 people.

Joseph Smith’s brother, Samuel, gave a Book of Mormon to Preacher John P. Greene.  Rhoda Greene, the preacher’s wife, read the book.  She and her husband, as well as her brothers Phineas, Lorenzo, Joseph, and Brigham Young (who was the second prophet of the Church) converted.

Parley P. Pratt knew a member of the church and joined.  He was friends with Sidney Rigdon, an influential Campbellite leader from Colesville.  100 people in Colesville got baptized, including Edward Partridge, the future bishop.   Sixty people were baptized within the first nine months.

Joseph Smith Sr. and Don Carlos Smith, father and brother of Joseph Smith, told their extended family in St. Lawrence County, New York about the Church.

Levi Hall learned about the Church, and so did Emma Smith, future wife of the prophet.

As you can see, it is important to utilize social networking.  The church boomed from 6 members to 66 within the first nine months, and also grew a lot in Colesville through Parley P. Pratt’s associations.   While what you know is important, it’s who you know that helps you as well as others.


One thought on “The Power of Social Networking

  1. It’s so true! I never thought that who you know was so important until I came to college and started trying to look for a job. Social ties are very fascinating, and I think that sometimes we forget how influential those around us are! I mean, just look at how influential those few people were in growing the church. Also, I loved the story of that guy who looked on Pinterest. I hope that girl kept dating him because he sounds like a keeper.

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