[Networking] feels "fake" because we know it involves the deflection of our natural human sociability to an ulterior end. Normally we meet strangers in the expectation that they may truly be strange, and are drawn to the multilayered mystery that each human presents. But in networking, as in prostitution, there is no time for fascination. The networker is always looking over the shoulder of the person she engages in conversation, toward whatever concrete advantage can be gleaned from the interaction-- a tip or a precious contact. This instrumentalism undermines the possibility of a group identity, say, as white-collar victims of corporate upheaval. No matter how crowded the room, the networker prowls alone, scavenging to meet his or her individual needs.
Source: Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, Pages: 62
Contributed by: aarons