There are two different thoughts on building up social and professional networks. One is to invite and accept anybody and everybody and the other is only to accept friends and people you actually speak to. I use both of these with my social networking as well as a third. For certain networks such as Facebook, my rule is I will invite someone or accept a friend invitation only if I have spoken to them in real life. I will not share all of my personal information and pictures from my last vacation with someone from across the world who just wants to have as many Facebook friends as possible. For professional networks, I don’t care who sees my information. In fact, I want the whole world to see my information because the more people that see my professional profile, the more luckortunity I can get my hands on. If I was looking for a job and only my closest friends knew, I’m not sure what I would end up with if anything. On the other hand, if the entire world sees my qualifications and that I am looking for a job, there is a much larger chance that I will find something I like. The third thought is to invite as many people as possible with absolutely no connection to you. I did this with a MySpace account to see where it got me.
With Facebook, I can keep in touch with close friends and family and keep everyone informed of events in my family’s life. I can share pictures of my children and let everyone know when the next birthday party is. I stopped going on Facebook so often because it takes up too much time and I have more important things to do with my time but fortunately, the rest of my friends are still online whenever I need them.
With LinkedIn it is a little difficult to connect with people you don’t know and it is even hard sometimes to connect with people you do know. To connect with someone you usually need to know their email address. In today’s age people have between 5 and 10 email addresses and you never know which one they will use for linked in. To get around this problem, at least for others to connect to me, I added my email address as part of my last name so when someone sees it, they can invite me to connect right away. You can do this too by writing your name as “firstname” “lastname(email address)”. Then anyone who knows you or has ever heard of you can join your network.
For MySpace, I conducted somewhat of a social experiment just to see what would happen. Since I didn’t have a MySpace account and I was curious about what everyone was going so crazy over, I opened an account. I didn’t tell any of my friends about the account but I did start inviting random people from all over to be my friends. I would just browse around and add anyone and everyone I saw. I was surprised to see that somewhere over 65% of these people accepted my friendship and sent me glittery messages all over my wall saying “thanks for the add” or just some random joke. I found it very interesting to see the inner workings of a MySpace network.
I didn’t let that social experiment go to waste though, I invited everyone to visit this site as well as my other site Sucky Poems. I’ve had some traffic from those connections so I got to use some free advertising. I did have more authority telling them about my blogs than a random spammer but still, if I had an actual relationship with any of them, I would probably get a lot more traffic. People are more curious about their internal circle of friends than they are about random strangers. That is why a site like Post Secret although I think it’s great, would be a lot more interesting if it was just for a small area or group of friends. Imagine reading through every secret and trying to figure out who it was.
By opening up your social networks you can choose how you want to get lucky. If it’s professionally, then letting everyone connect to you through LinkedIn is a good start. If it is socially, you can open up your social networks to accept just anybody. I prefer to at least get to know a little about someone first before I become their online friend. You can learn all about me through my blogging, now leave me a comment or a message and tell me a bit about yourself.