I love social networking. Online and offline, virtual and real world networking. Over the past couple of weeks I have participated in several real life social networking events and enjoyed every minute of them. Reports will follow.

Here is an observation: social networking has always existed. In my life it has always played a major role. After all, I began my journalistic career at the age of 16, and what do journalists do? Network!

So what’s the big deal? Why do the 20-something walk around proudly as if their generation has invented social networking?

Well, the fact is they didn’t invent social networking, but social networking has been re-invented. First of all, it is not profession-dependent any more. You don’t need to be a journalist to network. Come to think of it, you don’t need to be a journalist to write…

Then, you do need the double channel for networking today. The online-offline go hand in hand. Online can allow a certain reach. Offline extends and enhances networking.

And here enter the 20-something. I started to type my stories, news and reports on a PC in 1990. That’s only 18 years ago. The 20-something were just about to start school. They started their reading and writing with the computer already present in their lives. Computer games, which were never present in my childhood, took a major bite in their childhood. If my better hours of childhood afternoons were socializing around the neighborhood, some of their better hours were already dedicated to solitary relationship with the computer. And yes, I know, you can socialize with friend around the PC too. I have a 10 year old son. Let me tell you something – it is not the same type of socializing, nor networking.

This generation was in the most desperate need for social networking. So when social networking finally arrived (did we mention web 2.0?), they claimed ownership, naturally.

Being a 40-something doesn’t mean I can’t benefit or I fit less. Au contraire! With my real-world social networking experience, the online-offline game is a true pleasure.

Next: Web 3.0 – semantic web, who is going to claim ownership for that??