Image via CrunchBase
I tried explaining social networking to an older relative recently. It’s based on identifying yourself on the internet, I said.
There was a sharp intake of breath from across the table.
My relative wasn’t sure about the risks of putting information about yourself out into the ether, for others to see. He asked, ‘Won’t people know too much about you’?
On reflection I, sort of, see his point, although if you don’t put yourself out there the potential for changing your situation is pretty limited.
These days for work, or professional reasons it is sensible to have a Linked In profile. If a portfolio career appeals it might even be the key to researching new opportunities, which may mean you can develop your future by trading on existing skills.
The online edition of American magazine Ebony has an interesting article, with something to say about that subject. In particular I like their idea that ‘You Can See What You Need to Get What You Want’.
If you set store by finding out more about people who have been there and done that (actually used social media to their advantage), you might want to look at Rich Jones web site concerning professional steps in the virtual world.
Blogging is an option too. Finding a topic about which you are passionate and writing about it via WordPress, Blogger, or another platform. It is always nice to have people read and even follow what you write, but it may take some time to get your readership beyond single figures.
Twitter is a third avenue, creating a small you-shaped virtual niche. It also makes for concise communication as a limit of 140 or fewer characters applies.
It is a very quick way of getting your message distributed too. Although recent events involving Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand, illustrate why speed isn’t always helpful. Frankly it is idea to think first and tweet later.
There are a billion users on Facebook too, so that might be a harder arena in which to get your voice heard.
Whichever route appeals it is also worth remembering something friends working in Human Resources have mentioned to me. Some employers do keep tabs on identifiable social media accounts.
Even if they do not have an official policy about employees’ media usage, or even if you are not yet working for them, they may be very interested in what you have to say and the way you say it.
That is worth thinking about if you are used to frank speaking online and you don’t want something you said ages ago, concerning a topic about which you are passionate, counting against long after you had forgotten saying it.