For the past month I’ve been focusing on my life offline.
I don’t doubt that there are future employers who will love that I’ve been actively writing, tweeting, and facebooking, however, I realize that twitter friends aren’t the only friends.
So much emphasis in the WKU School of Journalism & Broadcasting is placed on establishing an online presence but I’ve only had one teacher encourage me to practice personal, face-to-face networking.
In my Agriculture Department classes, however, this is not the case. This is probably because in the Kentucky agriculture world the networking game is still mostly played offline.
At WKU, Block & Bridle is an integral part of the agriculture student’s networking system.
As the largest non-Greek, student organization at Western, Block & Bridle is open to students of all majors interested in the livestock industries.
Alumni of the WKU Block & Bridle chapter are politicians, directors of commodity groups, veterinarians, agriculture educators, and some of the state’s most prominent farmers.
Every alum I’ve met loves to relive their memories of grilling pork chops, showing livestock, traveling across the country, and making lifelong friends.
My three years as a member of the WKU chapter have already been life changing. My best friends are all Block & Bridle members; my roommates are all chapter officers. We literally eat, sleep, and breathe Block & Bridle.
Last week, we welcomed 30 new members to our chapter at our annual New Member Banquet.
Speaker for the evening was Warren Beeler, a WKU Block & Bridle and Agriculture Department alum who is now the Director of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Division of Value Added Animal and Aquaculture Promotion.
Beeler encouraged members to make the most of their time in the club and to let it help them find their future in the agriculture industry.
Beeler’s words reminded me how important it is to make personal connections with people in the industry, a point I feel is being neglected in the journalism education at WKU.
At the end of the day, its not always about how many twitter followers you have or how many people read your blog. Its about the people you’ve met and taken the time to get to know.
Its about being more than a screen name and managing your “offline” brand.