Thursday, November 6, 2008

Are You LinkedIn or on FaceBook? Should You Be?

Social networking sites like LinkedIn and FaceBook are fundamental in getting your personal professional self in front of the right people in the 21st Century. LinkedIn is very helpful in a job search or even scoring a new client, as Stephen Spencer noted on his blog:
I had been on LinkedIn for quite a while but I never gave it much thought or attention. I had never bothered filling out a meaningful profile for myself. And I had never sought to add any contacts to my network.

This year I saw the light -- I saw how valuable LinkedIn can be if you know how to work it. I witnessed my colleague Brian Klais use LinkedIn to find some amazing candidates for SEO positions at our company Netconcepts. At the best of times it's hard to hire for SEO positions, as those who are the most qualified are undoubtedly already pulling in a very respectable paycheck. LinkedIn made it a breeze for Brian. Brian's success spurred me on to give LinkedIn a bit more of my attention.
I tend to agree, and have had some success using LinkedIn.

Facebook is a different animal. Besides the potential dangers (posting the wrong photos, your private life spilling over into your public life, etc.) it can be argued that its just not a serious use of your time or the Internet:

Put simply, it’s today’s AOL. It’s an argument that’s been made before, and it’s becoming more clear as the site grows more ambitious.
The Sauce

LinkedIn is an invaluable online networking tool, especially when used properly and strategically. It's an opportunity to show the world your "better professional self;" a high-profile place to post your resume, photo and recommendations.

FaceBook is an excellent place for targeted marketing, but I question its efficacy as a means of promoting yourself, especially when LinkedIn has cornered the market on professional social networking online. FaceBook can also be a massive timewaster.

Many local online networking sites are also successful, like Chris Gould's Kansas City-area phenomenon, Kansas City Online Community. This particular network features in-person networking events and seminars (yours truly spoke at the first such event), thus giving participants the best of both worlds.

It really all gets down to how well you write and maintain your profile--just like any network, it's all about what you put into it.

What are your thoughts? Successes? Horror stories? The comments section is open.

That said, come visit your humble Bernay's Sauce editor's profile on LinkedIn. As for my FaceBook page...well, why waste your time?

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