Social Media for Networking
The internet has joined telephones and carrier pigeons as a form of two-way communication. Complete strangers on opposite ends of the world can communicate instantly without knowing each other’s location, name or phone number. Never before have so many people in the world been interconnected and the number of people between any two given people continues to decrease.
Playwright Frigyes Karinthy originally proposed Six Degrees of Separation in a 1929 short story. This is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. In 2008, Microsoft “worked out that any two strangers are, on average, distanced by precisely 6.6 degrees of separation.” By 2011, Facebook brought users to an average degree of 4.74.
Now that people are increasingly accessible, we should find resulting benefits of all this networking.
1. Social networking can be used as a tool for finding a job. Alexis Grant from usnews.com suggests 10 smart ways to use social media to find a job. Her list includes telling your friends about the job search, snooping on hiring managers through LinkedIn and simply using your connections to score employment. There is no doubt social networks aid in finding a job, heck, it could even be a job.
2. Social networking can also help you find relevant news. While television agencies spend weeks talking about some movie star, you alternative news agencies Facebook feeds crank out online articles you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. A trusted friend in China tells about an earthquake that will remain unannounced in the American news cycle for another 3 days. Your friend in Egypt explains how he helped a family of Syrian refugees find a place to live. (More on citizen journalism and glocalization to come)
3. While networking may help you land a job or catch up on Syria, social networking can also be purely for, well, social reasons. Some people use it for updating statuses and checking up on friends, co-workers, classmates and family. Social media websites allow users to store photos and posts indefinitely with time stamps. Moving away from friends and losing your precious photo album to a house fire are things of the past. Some people worry that social networking damages relationships, more on this later.
4. Social networking isn’t only for people networking. Businesses also network with fans to gain valuable feedback about their company and products. Before, feedback was always private through email or phone. Only close friends heard your feelings about a product or company. Now, social media offers a new channel for networking with users. Of course some businesses also use social media as a tool for marketing and advertising, but foolishly ignore the full potential in being in someone’s network on a more personal level.
More info on general uses of social networking found here.