Be it corporate events, local user groups, unconferencing events like barcamps, we often find people who share common interests. Most often we swap business cards, spend some time sharing some info about work, interests etc. After the event, we follow up with our new contact via mails, IM, phone or another meeting, if and only if, we see a mutual opportunity in near future.

So everything that we do as a part of this kind of networking, most of the times can be termed as opportunistic. During this process, we ignore those contacts who do not have any value in near future, who in future may play a significant role. But by then, we either have lost their contact info, do not remember the name or the face, thus limiting the effectiveness of the offline networking event, if there is no follow up.

An online networking activity might come handy in such a case. Trend nowadays is to open up the event attendee database via wikis, blogs, online groups, event calendars with RSVPs etc, which in future allow us the attendee to network long after the event is over.