Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Using social media as job search and career development business analysis resources 17: what others share about us online and through social media

This is my seventeenth installment to a series on the points of intersection between business intelligence and its gathering, and social media and related interactive online channels as sources of actionable information and insight, as they can be applied to job search and career development (see Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3, postings 397 and following for Parts 1-16.)

I have at least relatively systematically been addressing the issues of our professional image and our professional message as we shape them and share them through online social media, from Part 9 of this series, on through its Part 16. I turn here in this installment to consider the messages that others create and share about us through these same online channels. And my point of focus for this, as with Parts 9-16 is on explicitly professionally-oriented communications and messages. I am going to consider how a site such as Facebook fits into this separately, after addressing these communications sharings as they take place in more explicitly professional contexts.

What do people share online that is directly enough about us as individuals to be relevant here in this discussion? I begin with the obvious:

• Professional recommendations and endorsements that fellow professionals and colleagues would share about us and for us, in supplement to our online professional profiles, such as our LinkedIn profile.

And in that regard, I note that essentially every professionally oriented social networking site offers options for members to offer recommendations to other members of that site for their professional qualities, endorsements for them for holding specific skills, or both.

Every time someone posts a recommendation or endorsement to us, citing our expertise and our capability of making effective use of it, that constitutes a significant, and I add significantly valuable communication from another about us. I have written many times in this blog about the importance of our highlighting the value of what we have done rather than simply indicating what we have worked on, and with quantifiable bullet points for that where possible when drafting a resume or an online professional profile (as discussed here in Part 10.) When a fellow professional speaks up to validate our claims as to the value of what we do and can do professionally, that makes our online presence stand out in a very positive way that our own writing about ourselves could never achieve on its own. That is because this type of third party validation confers a strong sense of objective outside validation of our value as a professional.

• When we participate in online professional groups and forums, and other professionals respond to our postings there and enter into publically visible conversations with us on professional issues of relevance to us and to our careers, that offers value to us too. And once again it does so by highlighting our experience and expertise, and I add our judgment and our communications skills too. (What about negative feedback and response in this? Think through what you post online with care and write and edit it with care too. And let anyone who reads what you offer and any replies to it, judge the merits of what you have to say, and the merits of any responses to it too. And if you see value in replying back – many issues are genuinely contentious and this can lead to a genuine and even significant conversation.)
• If we blog on professional topics and issues, and some of our readers offer relevant feedback comments to our postings, or click to subscribe to our blog and we let those forms of response show to our readership, that offers value to us too.
• And with that last detail in mind: showing the size of our subscriber base, when people LinkedIn connect to us or otherwise professionally social network with us and the number of our networking connections that we have attained through those channels show on our profiles there, that offers value to us too, as these are all people who see value in networking with us through a professionally oriented channel. This is also value validating for us.
• Yes, I have only touched upon a few types of social media channel here in this installment, but my overall discussion of social media channels here is of necessity incomplete as old ones lose favor and slip away, and new ones come online and gain popularity and community-wide use. Think through and understand how others can connect back to you visibly online and through the social media channels that you use. And at least periodically look further, to keep up with new social media resources and opportunities too.

I wrote about communications skills and practices in the context of this series in Part 16 and I in effect continue that here, where I focus on public communications: persistent message-based publically open and visible communications, rather than more private and ephemeral ones such as instant messaging chats. This posting begins with the issues of what others publically communicate to us, and of necessity communicate to a wider community as well. It is also about our feedback and response to this incoming message flow.

• Actively filter out spam and related static, but allow in and respond back as appropriate to meaningful, genuine messages shared from others.
• And cultivate opportunity to develop conversations and both to expand your networking reach in fruitful directions, and to gain information and insight that you can build upon and make use of.

And this brings me to what would colloquially be called the 800 pound gorilla in the room: Facebook. I have been focusing up to here on more professionally oriented online interactive and social media resources. Now I will turn to the open and topically undifferentiated of online social media.

Facebook is simultaneously the largest most widely used social media channel on Earth and certainly as of this writing, and it is the most open and wide-ranging such interactive channel for what is discussed and shared, and for what purposes. And it is important to note, it is also a social media resource that has recurringly and even seemingly continuously been controversial, and not just for its repeatedly adjusted privacy policies, and for how it uses personal information provided by and about its members, and commoditizes and shares it with others. It is also important to note that for a great many people, social media and Facebook are all but considered to be synonymous. So while Facebook is only peripherally and partly a business and professionally oriented social media channel, it is one that cannot be ignored and in any discussion of the type I have been pursuing here in this series. And it is going to be the topic of discussion in my next series installment.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at my Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 and at the first directory page and second, continuation page to this Guide. And you can find this and related material at Social Networking and Business and its continuation page too.

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