Saturday, August 20, 2011

How to Utilize Linkedin For Effective Networking

There are many forms of networking tools to utilize these days and more are getting developed. With the flood of viral communication, the important thing to keep in mind are which social media sites you want to invest your time.

Negative Effects of Social Media (primarily Facebook):

1. Increases isolation and reduces real life communication with people.

2. Increases misunderstandings if words or something that is written is taken out of context or interpreted wrong.

3. Increases time on the computer, wasting away countless hours.

4. Increases chance of identity theft.

5. Increases cyber stalking, snooping, ease-dropping.

6. Increases anti-social behavior.

7. Trains this generation of being less capable of real communication, reducing the ability to communicate in person.

8. Allows fantasy to over-ride a person's life, increasing escapism.

9. Allows people to believe that unknown viral friends are somehow real when most of them they have never met in real life.

10. It is not real.

The absolute best example of this is in the new Toyota commercial.

However, the best sort of social networking use are for the following purposes: obtaining jobs, job leads, connections for small and large businesses, viral marketing and PR uses for self publishing or self promotion of any type. Social networking is a powerful tool. But, needs to be intelligently used. One highly recommended site I use the most is Linkedin. I feel that it is the only professional networking site that does help you get connected to jobs. While Facebook has attempted their own version called "Branchout," it still doesn't come close to Linkedin. Unfortunately, anything on Facebook can not be taken seriously. Posts people have of their parties, drinking binges, and even bragging about murders- as one kid did when he killed his parents in Florida, then posted it up on Facebook, inviting his friends to a party while his parents were rotting away. 

Linkedin, you can begin with the contacts you do have and then spread out by joining professional groups. You have to be accepted by the group. But, once you do- in each group there are many more members you can connect with. You can send them an invitation request if you have their e-mail, if you know them personally, or if you are apart of the same group. So far, I have joined 32 professional groups. I have been able to join in discussions, inquiries, and spread my networking. Linkedin is not a waste of time, with the proper use and knowledge- one can learn to get a job and continue to network on a professional level.

The rule of thumb for anyone in college (undergrad, grad, PHD) schools/Universities, in a business, or any professional environment where you are in contact with bosses, peers, and professors.

1. Learn how to listen.

2. Learn how ask the right questions.

3. Be friendly and social, but sincere (not fake).

4. Be a team player.

5. Establish professional boundaries immediately (by far the most important- even boundaries with family and close friends).

My Linkedin Groups where I am a participatory member: