Groups put old-fashioned 'social' in social media

[caption id="attachment_90682" align="alignnone" width="450"] As part of its WIMPgives program, WIMPs Tony Fardella and Kathy Pine (far left) design a website for Krista Gawronski and Erin Ascher of nonprofit Fabulous Women of Sonoma County. (credit: Arken Studios)[/caption]

NORTH BAY -- Social media has evolved into a great tool for business, allowing networking on so many different levels it's hard to imagine how we ever did without it. But face-to-face is making a comeback as well, stimulated by relationships developed in cyberspace.

[caption id="attachment_90680" align="alignright" width="300"] WIMPs gather for an exchange of interactive media news and strategies.[/caption]

New co-working, networking groups are springing up and old ones reviving, often as a direct result of Facebook connections and the site, a web host for local groups.

According to social media consultant Kerry Rego, local tech and non-tech business people are looking for group support.

"Co-working, shared spaces, crowd sourcing, crowd funding, cooperatives and locally focused vendor relationships: these are increasing in the North Bay," said Ms. Rego. "People want to work together with those they trust."

WIMP (Web and Interactive Media Professionals, in Sonoma County, BABS (Bay Area Bloggers Society, in Marin, Chimera Arts and Maker Space ( in Sebastopol and Startup Grind North Bay ( are only a few of the new support groups for local professionals.

SofTech (, a Marin and Sonoma group for software developers, is making a comeback.

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