Thursday, November 08, 2007

More on Social Networks

Yesterday, I wrote a little bit social networks and finance folks tend to view them as being for fun, not business. I have to admit, their feelings confirmed a prejudice of mine, even though I'm hesitant to apply it to JobsintheMoney's users. I'm an old online guy (well, 47) and I've watched people use their computers for fun and business for a long time - since even before there was a Web.

See, there used to be dis thing called COMPuserve, and you could CHAT vith people, and send pictoores, and rant about politics in dere forums, and people spent HOURS on dis thing, usually late at night… Vhere's my inhaler…?

Sorry. Sometimes when I talk about things like CompuServe, my niece and nephew look at me the way I used to look at my grandfather.

Anyway, by coincidence I posted a story on our sister site Dice yesterday about using social networks as part of career management. Dice is a site for technical folks, so that's what the focus is on, but I think much of the article could apply to accountants and finance folks. If nothing else, it gives you a good idea of what sites are focused on business use (that would be LinkedIn), and what sites aren't really doing much of anything (which would be Friendster.) Don wrote:
There are fewer people on LinkedIn than other social networks, but they're the right people. This well-crafted site is designed solely to help you make professional connections. It's so serious that until recently you couldn't even post a photo of yourself. Submit your resume and skills, state your intentions (looking to hire, looking to be hired, looking for freelance work, etc.), import your address book to find colleagues who are already there - and start making connections.

Does it work? Some say it does. Janet Ryan, chief of advertising at, another social networking site, says she landed her job when the company's founder searched LinkedIn for a specialist to set up revenue operations just before the product launched. "By checking our mutual connections she was able to do a full reference check before we ever met, and I did the same on my end as well," Ryan recalls. "When we met in person it was like talking with an old friend, and we started working together immediately."

LinkedIn's search tools help find people like you, people who might need you, people you might need, and people who share your skills. The site also has a useful Q&A feature that lets you make your presence known by asking contacts specific career-related questions (and answering them, too). All this is free, and it's worth an hour of your time to get familiar with its look and feel.
Social networks basically repackage standard online tools in ways that help people connect. They give people a place to show off their knowledge to like-minded people - which can also be done by commenting on blogs, participating in forums, or creating a personal Web site that acts as an online resume. How valuable these strategies are varies by the industry you work in and, I think, by how comfortable you are in using them. What the networks give you is an environment where people want to connect.

Make a Social Network Work For You [Dice]

No comments: