Social networking, does it work?

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Just a quick question for readers: does social networking software help out in your professional life? I’m a very tepid user of the various sites, I accept invites and so on, but it isn’t something I invest a lot of time on in building a large of number of friends/contacts or fleshing out my profile. I know that some research has shown that a professional contacts are often found through your second-tier relationships, that is, not close friends but good acquaintances and what not. People who you know, but whose contacts don’t overlap much with yours. So I suppose that’s the point of something like linkedin. But does it really work? I’ve receive much better contacts through the blog, email, e-lists and so on.

(note, I am not disputing that social networking software helps your personal or social life. I know many people who’ve gotten action through friendster or myspace, but no one who has made professional gains via linkedin)



  1. The key to making social networking work professionally is to participate where you feel your customers are. Some businesses are finding success on sites like MySpace, others on smaller niche sites. One company, is connecting local communities like schools, churhces and sports organizations and allowing businesses to be seen by them. Local social networking is about to explode.

  2. craig, 
    i can see how businesses can derive profit out of them. i guess i’m more inquiring about professional contacts for individuals.

  3. It really comes down to the type of job you have. If building up a customer/client base is an important part of your work, social networking might be very useful. But many jobs aren’t like that.

  4. It seems to me that social networking would be helpful in non-academic settings. If you are trying to get an academic job, then social networking doesn’t seem helpful (especially since you have a very successful blog). 
    To me, social networking seems to be helpful towards certain ends (and those ends are non-academic).

  5. it’s utterly useless for my scientific life, but it is helpful in keeping in touch with people I already know from “old school” social networking at professional meetings. 
    It also makes me more accessible to students, and I have had a few job nibbles since my CV is public at jobster and LinkedIn. 
    The types of scientific collaborations I see happening mostly take place over listservers (“do you have insect or reagent X?”). 
    Social networking 1.0? :)

  6. I should accept here that, I’ve started to blog and signed with Orkut, Facebook, Myspace mostly to create business relationship and meet people who are in the thought like me. I already found few, but not many. I hope that, I could create strong professional relationship via social networking… 
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