Working the Network

March 29, 2009 § Leave a comment

Over my career, I have established quite a professional network. During the past two years or so, I have been able to apply online tools to stay in touch and manage my connections. This was fun a fun way to get in touch, but I always thought in the back of my mind that some day I will really need these tools for professional advancement.

Lo and behold, my department is being restructured, and today I find myself unexpectedly in search of employment. There’s no time like the present to see what LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can do for me. So far, by day five since learning the news, the networks have mostly been useful for getting the word out and for friends and colleagues to offer encouragement and advice, for which I am exceedingly grateful.

The HR manager in my department encouraged me to get on LinkedIn and connect with people there. That is where recruitment is happening, she told me. Indeed, I have been reaching out to people there, finding professional groups to join, and searching for jobs.

Through my exploration of LinkedIn, I stumbled upon the Ning group for nonprofit professionals, the NP Forum. They are on Twitter and have a group within LinkedIn. There’s also Nonprofit Orgs, who is on Twitter, too.

Who knows? Maybe this blog will lead me to my next great opportunity. Hopefully there is a fundraising organization out there in Chicagoland that is looking for the perfect person to help build institutional memory and help track relationships with information technology. But I digress.

I hope to have a happy story here soon about social networking tools that will give courage to other job seekers out there. In the meanwhile, I take heart in hearing about other success stories.

Twitter: My New Obsession

May 28, 2008 § Leave a comment

So, I’m finally figuring out what to do with Twitter and why it is so cool. I got into it because I’m writing an article about how people are using technology to create and promote social change movements, and I wanted to see for myself how people were using it.

I started following some of the contacts that I have made through Ma.gnolia, I’ve stumbled upon some friends and random acquaintances, and there are several business, nonprofits, and news agencies who are also Twittering.

The greatest example for me of Twitter’s usefulness, I think is NetSquared. This is an organization that helps nonprofits use technology, and they are hosting a conference in San Jose now. I have been able to keep up with what’s happening there with their tweets. They also have a FaceBook page and a website with conference updates, but the tweets are like a play-by-play, informing its followers of the most recent updates to the website of the flickr page.

People talk to each other, too, asking for or offering help and advice, sharing links and information, just putting themselves out there to see what comes back. Or sometimes just to share a little pearl of wisdom or a moment of inspiration, or a good joke.

So, Twitter has been around for a while now, and I’m not the first to review this tool. I have nothing to say here that is revolutionary to anyone who is already using it, but for me it is a revelation! I have a new way to communicate with people doing interesting things. In the couple of days that I’ve been using it, I’ve found some new blogs to read and come across some great resources. I may even have made a couple of friends. Who knows?

One thing that occurs to me as I write (and I’ve been thinking about this a lot regarding all social networking tools) is that the tools are only useful if lots of people use them. There are exceptions, of course, but isn’t the point of social networking to be social, to network? The tools that I use regularly are the ones that lots of other people use, like FaceBook and Ma.gnolia. I’m not saying that functionality isn’t important (and believe me, I’ve already learned the Twitter doesn’t always function), but Twitter just wasn’t interesting to me at all when I wasn’t connecting with anyone. Now that I am networking, it is my new obsession.

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