Anita Campbell tells us that she is a big proponent of business networking online and that The best online networks increase your face-to-face networks.
Instead of thinking of online networking as a replacement for face-to-face networking, perhaps a better way to think of the two is that they work together. She goes on to tell about some of the people with whom she works that she originally met online.
What can I say, but "small world." Online networking really does lead to person-to-person relationships.
Every one of the interactions mentioned (above) was brought about directly or indirectly as a result of networking online. Were it not for creating connections online, I would have known no one in New York — not a single person.
Now I realize that an important consideration is that this is among a professional cadre who are very comfortable with the online Web 2.0 world. It does however point to some pathways regarding communication and networking for the future and moving into new lines of work. At this point in time, this is basically a small shift in my personal paradigm but after a year or two, closer to dayjob retirement, it could become the basis for a larger paradigm shift in my life.