What’s the difference between networking and phoning your friend from uni to ask a question?

Answer: Nothing.

I grew up in a village. At the time it felt like the whole world – for all of its size. It’s two streets wide and nine streets long. One side is flanked by the river, the other the swamp that goes all the way out to the beach. The main road whooshes past on the street that was the back street, back then. Growing up, before the houses were built on the main road, I could see each of the three headlands within coo-ee: South West Rocks, Hat Head and Crescent Head. Perhaps I couldn’t see Crescent Head, but I have a memory of it, and who’s to argue with that.

Growing up in a village, where gossip was the currency of belonging,  everyone knew everyone else, and more. I thought this was normal, so I find myself  repeating the experience wherever I’ve lived. I expect to know people, I expect them to know who I’m talking about in conversation. And indeed, when I used to throw an enormous Australia Day party, people would come from all parts of my life, and the connections to all the other people would become apparent. “How do YOU know Chris Porter?” they’d say of someone they’ve known for one hundred years.

When I moved to Lismore I was thrilled because suddenly I was in a city. Literally, if not comparatively. I could go to functions and know “no-one”: there’d only be six people there I knew well. My friends, fresh from the city, would relish the experience of being in a “small town”. They’d go out and know “everyone”: there’d be six people there they knew.

So in a village, it’s not called networking. If you need something done, you ask the person who knows that thing. And in this village/city, where the six degrees of separation is reduced to about two-and-a-half, today I visited the fabulous Ms Joanna Kambourian from Ms Browns Lounge, and we worked on this website.
Thanks to this village, I’ve got city standard support, and I’ve shared a coffee with my uni friend too.

I love Lismore.


Photo of Jo by Alana Potts

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