Thing 6: Online networking

July 18, 2011

For today’s “Thing” we are to blog about our experiences with online networking tools, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, plus any others that we may be using. 

A quote from the Thing post from the founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman: “Facebook is the backyard BBQ; LinkedIn is the office”?

I do agree with this statement to some extent.  What I put and see on Linked In I expect to be more professionally-oriented.  There is more lee-way with what is shared on Facebook, although some people may use both as a professional presence.  I use my Facebook to connect with true friends, family and acquaintences whom I trust to see any family pictures or random musings.  I also keep it pretty private, open only to those whom I “friend”.  I use LinkedIn as an online resume and a way to connect with other professionals who have similiar interests, and I keep it very open.  For example, during my current job search, I joined a group on LinkedIn called LIS Career Options, which has been really helpful with questions and advice.  I also belong to an ALA group, SLA, and a few others. 

I think it is important to be yourself on any of these social media, but to keep in mind that anything out there may be able to be accessed, so don’t put out something that you would be embarassed about your family or colleagues seeing.  I really liked the 23 Things example of  James Mullan–his LinkedIn was a nice combination of professional AND personality, so you get a better sense of him as a person. I may work to update my LinkedIn to be a bit more personable,  so that those accessing my profile can get a better sense of me as a person, rather than just another experienced professional.

As part of the online networking piece, I think it is important to comment intelligently when you have something to add; don’t just lurk or you are not really networking.  However, don’t feel the need to comment on everything or I think you can look at bit overbearing.  As an aside, these networks can also be a great source of support as people in the network take the time to answer questions and give advice in order to help you.

Social networking is still in its earliest phases–I think Google+ (which I haven’t been able to access yet) could be a viable contender, if only because of the name cachet.  I think it is important that we take time to keep up with the trends, evaluate, and go where the users are.

Personally, I have not yet seen any fruition in regards to the job search out of my online networking activity, but, having looked at candidates at other jobs, one of the first places we searched was LinkedIn and Google, so it is crucial to make sure your presence there is what you want it to be.  And, I have my LinkedIn address on my generic business cards.  I have thought about developing a QR Code that would lead to a YouTube video, but haven’t been that brave yet!



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