When Online Networking Hits a Wall... Join a Community

Networkers on general networking sites like Linkedin or Plaxo are coming to a realization: It's not sufficient to collect contacts; there needs to be a more human connection.

More and more often on Forums or in Groups the question pops up: "How do I refuse to connect with somebody I don't know?" "What is the netiquette to uninviting people?" An American fast-food company even created an advertising campaign around this subject, which ultimately backfired because this is such a sensitive issue.

This realization was triggered by the accelerating phenomenon of "connection collectors"; individuals who try to beat records in how many people they have in their network. This phenomenon has a very tangible downside: Since "connection collectors" don't know the people they connect with, their connections are not a great help for your networking either. It's like having a phone book with names. Ultimately this is a dead-end.

Real networkers are looking for additional opportunities to connect. It is amazing to see how many groups are being founded every day on LinkedIn alone and how fast their membership grows. Building on a common interest allows people to reach out in a more meaningful way.

The same goes for community sites. Because the Web is such a cold place, and websites can become very big, catering to many different audiences, people tend to try to organize the flux of information to form smaller units. This allows them to have a greater chance of finding like-minded people, which in turn enables them to build a network and interact in a more meaningful way. Basically the web is emulating the communities of the past.

A very recent addition in this arena is atQuid (www.atquid.com), an online community for antiques, vintage & art object enthusiasts. Inherently, art objects, antiques, vintage items and collectibles represent an ideal platform to share a passion. Collecting is a social experience, a lifestyle and by its very nature extraverted. Collectors like to share, meet, and talk about their collections and finds. Networking happens naturally.

Whilst at first glance the content of atQuid may resemble some of the existing antique and collector's websites, their approach is very different in two important ways. Firstly the social interaction is a central focus. atQuid allows collectors and enthusiasts - via multi media - to interact and connect. The content is user generated and members are encouraged to share their particular passion with others, to preserve and communicate their knowledge.

The site offers fully interactive features such as the ones found on Youtube, as well as networking tools such as those found on LinkedIn, Plaxo and Facebook. Secondly, atQuid clusters many different collection areas, many different communities, in a single place. Let's say you collect Art Deco: you don't need to visit several different sites, each specialized in a particular category of Art Deco objects, ultimately you will be able to find them all on atQuid.

While atQuid is still in its infancy and relies on collectors and enthusiasts to make this their home, it has the ambition to become the place on the Internet where collectors and enthusiasts share their passion, connect and network as well as find, free, complete knowledge about antiques, objects of art, collectibles and vintage items.