One of the challenges about becoming involved with Social Networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, or others is just who to connect with. Options include:
• College/university alumni
• Work colleagues
• People in my work field
• Interesting people I meet on-line, or perhaps
• Anyone who is interested
Of course there are those who have quite extensive networks of friends and family. But who you connect with will depend on what you want out of your social network connections. Yes, it is true that you have to think about what you want out of each the on-line relationships! Each of these categories can be important to parts of your life and you have to decide how you will be leveraging each network.
To some people the friendship aspect is most important to others it is business relationships that are important. We each probably need a little of both if truth be told, but it is important not to mix how you use each network as that may give inconsistent results to you. To guide you here are brief thoughts on each of the major networks:
Facebook – Most often used for personal relationships, yet it is possible to make business connections as well. Best to have separate accounts for personal and business.
LinkedIn – Primarily used for business relationships and building business connections.
Google + – New! Used for both social and business connections. Probably slightly more business focused, but time will tell.
Windows Live – used for both social and business connections.
Twitter – A general messaging service. Good for making announcements; news; business; personal or friend messaging.
YouTube – Primarily for posting videos, but remember it has many business uses, including training videos.
This is a simple list of the most popular networks that exist today, yet the truth is that there is plenty of space for more social media sites and you may already be a member of many others – for your social club.
This article is entitled “Why be an Open Networker?” and with good reason. Who do you network with? Is it just the people that you know, or have known in the past? No! You will use social networks to build your set of connections in order to help you achieve specific goals e.g. finding that next job. This is an important reason for being on a social site, and there are plenty of others.
The truth is that is we live within the circle of people that we already know and limit who we connect with then life ends up being very limiting. You go to a meeting and get introduced to someone new to the group chances are you will exchange business cards. Is there any reason why Sunny Halani cannot help you with something you need to complete your next project? If you need professional printing then the answer is likely to be “Yes”, but is that the limit of how he could assist you? Probably not. If you are facing a problem in a project that you are working on then could you give him a call and ask him if he knows of someone local who could assist resolving that specific issue. That is the power of networking.
Being an open networker simply means you are prepared to be more open with those you connect to. One thing to note is that most open networkers are actually looking for business connections rather than social ones. Without wanting to build your list of followers on Twitter you will see new people following you on a daily basis. They will have seen something of interest in one of your recent posts to make them want to follow you. It is safe to follow back. That said you should make sure that you do not put personal information like your address or phone number into any social profile.
Even being an open networker there are rules that you should follow. Invitations from users that are not in-line with your reason for being a member of the site, such as “Sexy Ladyz”, should be ignored. Many open networkers will not connect with any person that does not have even the shortest biography information and prefers that contacts have a photograph included in their bio. Ironically sites such as Triond also provide networking opportunities; it provides the opportunity to become a fan of other writers, once a fan then it is possible to communicate with fellow writers.
Communication is of-course one to the primary reasons to be involved in any sort of network. We look to assist others, by providing helpful content (not necessarily our own) and in return they will assist us in achieving our goals. Part of the art of networking is telling others how they can best assist us without advertising – this is an art-form that would take several articles in their own right so will not be expanded upon here. The open networker will make a large number of connections, yet how they manage each individual connection is important and that is what will achieve lasting success.
You will never know who may be able to assist you in achieving your goals so building relationships may get you closer to the next person who may be the connection you always needed to make. That is why it is important to build your network, irrespective of whether or not you are an open networker.
Tags: Networking, Social Media, Social networking