“The cocktail party has a simple function in modern society. Its basic purpose is to pay off social debts.” — Hal Boyle, A guy who spends an awful lot of time talking about cocktail parties, for someone who doesn’t like them. June 22, 1950
The closest I’ve ever come to a cocktail party was when I attended the University of Georgia. On two separate occasions, I attempted to go to what is known as The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. It’s an annual football game played in Jacksonville between UGA and the University of Florida. I use the word attempted because on my first visit, I ended up selling my ticket and watched the game at a place called The Landing. The second time I made the trip, I was smart enough to not even bother with buying a ticket and just showed up for the party. I can honestly say that I’ve never been inside the stadium to be a part of The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
When I think back to the time of the 1950’s cocktail party, it was all about getting together with friends and people you knew from work. Most of the parties had more people than seats since the cocktail party was all about the mingling and making new friends. It became a form of business entertaining brought into the home. The cocktail party turned into an opportunity to connect with employers and coworkers outside of the office.
In my recent post, The Return of the 1950’s Neighborhood Store, I touched on the message of how social media creates a feeling of community with our customers (fans/followers). The concept of the cocktail party takes it a step further for the business owner. Our social networks aren’t just for staying in touch with family and high school friends. It’s an opportunity to network with other business owners and engage with potential new customers.
We spend our time on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin like we’re hanging out in a big party. We become connected to influencers in our industry through commenting on their blogs. We meet people who can collaborate on a big project with us through one of our Linkedin groups. We’re laughing, sharing ideas and making connections with people we wouldn’t have been able to meet if not for these social networks.
Think about the latest social media program Pinterest. Just like any decent cocktail party from the 1950’s, you actually need an invitation to get into the ever-growing world of Pinterest. Not just the click of a mouse, but a true real live invitation. Fortunately this invite doesn’t come by snail mail so we can’t use the excuse ‘my invitation got lost in mail.’
The 1950’s cocktail party was really just their version of social media. It was all about family, friends, entertaining and celebrating our life. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt every once and awhile if we all turned on a little lounge music, shut down the office and bring back the cocktail party.
Photo credit: Dinner Party