I bet you think I’m going to talk about GoToMeeting or our old friend, Conferencing Manager. I could, but I won’t. I’ll leave that to others more experienced in that tech talk.

No, I’m talking about good old-fashioned people. People, people who need people,… OK, I digress (probably due to my need for lunch right now.). I think sometimes in our focus on getting our projects or software out the door, we forget how beneficial our networks can be. Yes, LinkedIn and other sites are great (Hey, I’m on LinkedIn myself), but face-to-face often wins out.

For example, I attended an industry conference in Q3 2006. When I transferred to Web Services in April 2007, I reached out to other attendees I had spoken to at that conference for help with one of my projects. Although the people I contacted hadn’t heard from me in almost six months and didn’t have the knowledge to help me, they took the time to ask their coworkers to help. Eventually I spoke to a peer I’d never met before who had a wealth of knowledge to share. She offered to present her team’s approach to the issue and so I was able to share their perspectives and processes with my team (using GoToMeeting , of course). By the way, I have to say that team was from Microsoft , – so you won’t catch me badmouthing them, even without our other “strategic partnerships”.

Today I got the chance to do something similar. A past Citrite contacted me about a project she is working on. Since the technical details were outside my range of experience, I asked a member of the Web Services team if he could help. Lo and behold, we met today (again with GoToMeeting) - my coworker, myself, the past Citrite, and her manager. We greeted, we chatted, we outlined, we discussed, and when we were done, they thanked us very much for our help and offered to return the favor if needed. Now, our meeting today may not lead to earthshattering changes in technologies or wow anyone (although I have great hopes for their gift that’s “in the mail”), but the time saved in a one-hour meeting vs. trying to figure it out on your own over weeks (or even months) can never be denied. And yes, I feel better. And I know my ex-Citrite friend feels a whole lot better.

So, in our world of technology, blogs and wikis nonwithstanding, we need to remember that networking and collaboration sometimes mean something different. And I hope all Citrites, past, present, and future are examples of that.