Social networking is great for opening doors to new connections as well as sustaining and even growing existing personal and professional relationships. A popular feature of new technology is time and place shifting digital-social interactions; you can be anywhere, anywhen. Of course, real-time communication is also possible through text chats and services such as Skype.

The new digital culture is one of sharing information, ideas, collaborating and even distributing workload among those with specific interest and skills. Conferences and meetings have moved from central physical spaces to being scattered to offices and living rooms of one or two people around the world. This convenience has also de-humanized many events, and allowed people to split their attention between the virtual conference they’re attending and the email inbox that keeps popping up alerts like a Jack Russell Terrier teasing you to play.

Enter another popular feature of new technology. A variety of services have given thrust to niche-specific, “hyper-local” groups and events over the last few years. This means you’re likely to find regular gatherings of interest groups in your area, perhaps even your neighbourhood. From politics to painting, web design to woodworking, astronomy to advocacy, communications to coffee — there are plenty of groups to join.

Formal and informal events organized using Eventbrite or Meetup.com, and impromptu gatherings organized using Twitter help you seek out people with whom you can connect, share and ideas and even learn. Take advantage of those search features and become hyper-local.