Two Great Social Utilities
Boasting of more than 175 million users wordwide, it seems as though everybody and their mom has a Facebook account. According Facebook’s Pressroom page, users spend 3 billion minutes each day on the site. Nothing against the social networking giant, but I view Facebook as a glorified high school yearbook. The Wall application in particular is reminiscent of that highly anticipated day when we passed around our books for our friends to sign and prayed that our class photos wouldn’t be too humiliating. Facebook does have its place in the spectrum of social networking sites, and if all you desire is to look at pictures of former friends drinking in Cancun, then Facebook is the space for you. If, however, you’d like to see the your time spent on the web benefit your career, here are two sites that can help you make connections in your industry and establish your personal branding.
Hailed by the New York Times as one of the fastest growing phenomena on the internet, this social tool helps users stay connected to one another by providing brief answers to the question “what are you doing?” and is the “modern antidote to information overload.” Twitter is a short messaging system that works in real time to deliver brief status updates. It works through a system in which users follow and are followed by friends, family, colleges, and organizations, who can log-in to receive status updates on their Twitter homepage, or can have updates sent to mobile phones. Twitter puts the user in control of their information intake, for example, users can schedule to have updates turned off Wednesdays at 9pm when they are watching Lost. There has recently been a lot of press paid to Twitter because of the John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston break-up rumoured to be fuelled by his obsession with the site, additionally there is currently a libel lawsuit involving Courtney Love’s tweets about a fashion designer. Co-founder Evan Williams shared with Ted.com about the unexpected uses of Twitter in a February 2009 lecture. In actuality, Twitter is best used, not for spreading libellous information or breaking up with famous loved ones, but for connecting with people and organizations whom you are interested in and can help you in your career by sharing industry information.
Benefits of Twitter:
- Short status updates
- Connect to industry professionals and companies
- Develop presence in the industry
- Share what you know/ events you are involved with
LinkedIn is a great network of professionals from 170 industries around the world. Currently the rapidly growing site has 37 million members and a new member joins every second of the day. LinkedIn is a social forum in which users can keep in touch with contacts, which is especially beneficial when looking for employment or having job opportunities to share with others. New users create a profile highlighting professional knowledge and experience. Once you create your profile you can invite contacts to join the site and then are connected to their contacts as well; think of it as a window into your colleague’s Rolodex. Here’s a link to a great video further explaining how to use LinkedIn.
Benefits of LinkedIn:
- Publicizes your professional information
- Provides opportunities to be introduced to contacts, clients, and collaborators
- Allows companies, individuals to contact you for business opportunities
- Allows you to find out about inside job prospects.
- Allows you to post job opportunities
- Allows you to ask experts industry-related questions
Share with me! Which social utility do you like best?