Let’s start this with a little exercise: When was the last time you heard someone say that networking (any form) doesn’t matter? I’ll go one step further: Have you heard someone say that they just don’t “get” social networking or that it’s a waste of time? I love hearing things like this every day. No, I don’t make it my mission to prove them wrong about networking and social media. Everyone is entitled to their opinion – that’s why it’s so great. Different strokes for different folks, right?
Here’s the thing: what matters is networking. How you do it is up to you. Some people are more comfortable with tradition, attending social mixers, shaking hands and distributing business cards. Others are learning how to quickly master the “big 3” (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), connecting with a hundred times the amount of individuals across the globe, creating thought diversity that didn’t even seem imaginable 15 years ago.
I’m going to highlight one form of networking in this post: social media networking. Please note that this is only one form of networking. I would encourage you to think of social media as a supplement to the traditional form, not a replacement. We’ll cover Twitter this week. Your comments and feedback is welcomed!
What are you doing? That’s it. That’s what how the platform started out. People simply tweeted about what they were doing at that very moment. It could be “eating a banana”, “enjoying a good book”, or “having fun with friends”. This is what most people’s perception was of the full extent of Twitter. In the last two years, it’s simply exploded. Now, tweets run the gamut, proving to be a great resource for real-time news (think about the Iran election or earthquake in Haiti, to name a few examples), an amazing networking opportunity, excellent tool for professional and personal development, and even a way to find a job. To learn more about Twitter, check out Mashable’s Twitter Guidebook.
Twitter is all about joining in on the conversation. I’ve found a few forums (tweet chats) recently that have proven to be quite useful in making new connections in my industry. Hopefully, I’ve added value to those forums and helped others as well. There are many different hashtags used that can allow you to follow the discussion in real-time.
#JobHuntChat – Moderated by Rich DeMatteo (@CornOnTheJob), Jessica Miller-Merrell (@blogging4jobs/ also check out @texting4jobs) and Nicole Crimaldi (@MsCareerGirl), #JobHuntChat brings together jobseekers of all kinds with recruiters every Monday night at 10:00PM EST. For one hour, questions around the job search are answered by well respected recruiters and HR professionals on the planet. Even if you’re not looking for a job at the moment, it’s a great way to give back and share your experience with the group.
#CCchat – College Career Chat is moderated by Kelly Lux (@KellyLux) and Dan Klamm (@DanKlamm), both from Syracuse University, bringing together college students, career coaches, recruiters and HR professionals, discussing tough interview questions, how to navigate the career fair, personal branding tips and more. #CCchat takes place every other Tuesday night (next one is April 20) at 8:00PM EST.
#HRHappyHour – Sounds fun, huh? Well, you’re exactly right! Grab your favorite beverage and tune in. HR Happy Hour is moderated by Steve Boese (@steveboese) and Shauna Moerke (@HR_minion). This is a forum that uses Twitter as a supplement to the real program. HR Happy Hour (www.hrhappyhour.net) is broadcast every week from BlogTalkRadio, an online service that streams audio. It’s just like a radio call-in show. Each week, tons of HR professionals in the U.S. and around the globe tune in to participate in conversation around topics such as company culture, benefits, breaking into HR, and much more. The entire show is fun to listen to and I learn something new every time I listen. HR Happy Hour is hosted every Thursday at 8:00PM EST and is also available as a podcast on iTunes.
There is a lot of useful information out there on Twitter. We live in a world that information is instant. If you have a question, just ask! Someone is likely to answer or point you in the right direction. It’s also a great tool to crowdsource, or gain insight from a larger group on a certain topic.
Three tips that I will leave you with regarding this unique and wonderful tool:
- Be authentic
- Give more than you receive
- Remember that it’s a supplement, not a replacement for traditional networking
In closing, there’s really no reason not to network. Even if you’ve found the job of your dreams and are happy with your life, you can share that optimism and experience with others. You might just learn something!
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As always, thanks for reading. Have a fantastic week.