This afternoon I spent an inordinate amount of time looking at lists of people’s names and jobs, sending them little notes asking them to acknowledge that they might know me or have some professional interest in me. That’s right: I joined LinkedIn.
Until now I’ve told myself that Facebook and Twitter were enough. After all, I’m self-employed and running a small practice. Does it really matter how many people have endorsed my skills as an acupuncturist? For anyone who sets foot in my clinic, the proof is in the pudding. Almost everyone comes upon the advice of a close friend or relative.
So, as I filled out my profile, I asked myself why I was joining.
Naturally, the answer I came up with was in the form of a Five Phase relationship.
It’s the middle of summer, the height of the Fire season. The qi of the moment is directed outward, primarily concerned with self-expression and making new connections. During the winter we may sit by the fire and indulge in self-reflection and deep thoughts, but during the summer we eat lunch outside and people-watch.
And that, to me, was the key. It feels right, at this hyper-social time of year, to present my professional profile to the world. I also thoroughly enjoyed looking through my friends’ lists of contacts and finding unexpected common connections.
Fire is about outward expression and connection, about bringing what is inside you out into the world and relating it to the outward expression of others. Quite literally, fire is a reaction that transforms and releases the energy stored in a physical object. Fire brings yourself, your soul, your presence, into the shared reality of the world. You could be the most brilliant, funny, talented, honorable person the world has every known, but until you allow the Fire phase to express all that in the world, it’s a moot point.
Of course, there’s no essay test on the value of social networking and no requirement to use a networking site effectively or even judiciously.
But on this hot, muggy afternoon, just throwing my profile out into the universe and seeing it catch in a whole network of friends and colleagues helps me feel in harmony with the world around me.