Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

It’s not just who you network connect with, it’s how you network with them

Posted in social networking and business by Timothy Platt on May 7, 2019

I initially offered a brief, four installment series on the basic principles of effective online professionally oriented social networking in this blog in early 2010, soon after starting to write to it at all (see Jumpstart Your Networking, as can be found at the top of Social Networking and Business. And I know that at least some of my readers still at least occasionally turn to that for ideas on how to more effectively strategically network. But I decided to add at least one more piece to that initial discussion here and now, on top of that series itself, and related material that I have also posted on this general topic. Think of this posting as an updating addendum to that series and to the rest of the brief orienting text that I also offer at the top of that posting directory page, and to other series that I have already added here and through several of its directory listings since then.

• Why would I do this now, and certainly when I have been at least periodically addressing this same complex of issues over a span of just over nine years now?
• My answer to that is simple; I see how both businesses and individuals who would want to work with them, post online and certainly where that means online social media participation. And I see how many of the people involved in this, approach these resources for purposes of social networking and marketing and both when representing hiring businesses and when reaching out to connect as potential new hires for them, but doing so through sites such as Facebook.

I do not generally begin a posting here with an explanation as to why I would write it. I am much more likely to begin with an orienting note as to how a new posting fits into the larger context of what I have been developing up to there as an overall ongoing narrative. But I offer here, what might be considered something of an apologia pro vita sua for this posting, as an intentional exception to that day-to-day practice, ongoing momentum-based rule. And I add that I probably need to offer this type of posting here and now precisely because of some of my earlier writings on how I use and recommend using online social media sites for background research and planning purposes.

I begin this brief note with my bottom line conclusion:

• The ultimate function of online social networking, and certainly as it is carried out with an awareness of our work lives and as a tool for advancing them, is to connect with and developing active relationships with the people who we need to know if we are to enhance our chances of success.

This is a two way street; people who offer value to others too, are more likely to gain the types and levels of success from their networking that I write of here. People who take and only take and who gain reputations for that type of behavior in the networking communities that they would gain from, pay a price and certainly longer-term for doing so.

My Jumpstarting series as cited above is all about best practices for reaching out and connecting. When I write in this blog of key networking participants and the value that can be gained from actively engaging with centrally active and involved networkers in reaching those right people, I have simply expanded upon that message (see for example: Social Network Taxonomy and Social Networking Strategy.) And then I see the flow of what can perhaps best be considered anti-professional content on sites like Facebook, as showing on the pages of people who I know are looking for jobs and career advancement opportunities and I have to wonder what they are thinking.

To repeat a point of detail that I offered above in passing, I just said that I am writing this note here and now at least in part in response to some of the online social networking-related content that I have added here since writing my initial Jumpstarting series. I summarize and repeat some of that here when I note that sites such as LinkedIn can be incredibly useful tools for gaining knowledge and insight, about specific businesses of interest that other LinkedIn members work for now, or have worked for. And that definitely includes opportunity to learn very significant facts about the key people at those businesses that you would at least potentially find yourself dealing with, with that including your possibly working there too. See my series: Using Social Media as Crucial Business Analysis Resources as can be found at Business Strategy and Operations – 3, postings 507 and loosely following for its Parts 1-7, and Using Social Media as Job Search and Career Development Business Analysis Resources as can be found at Guide to Effective Job Search and Career Development – 3 as its postings 397-415.

You have to assume that any hiring manager who you might meet with in an interview, has already checked you out online for what you post there and for how you present yourself, and that someone from their Human Resources department or service has already prescreened you and other candidates for possible red flag warning issues there too. If you come across as being unprofessional or as being at least potentially unreliable for how you would represent a business as an employee there, you start out in any attempt to gain a new job with a business with strikes against you. And yet so many people present themselves online, in ways that would limit if not stymie their chances for career advancement as they seek next and hopefully better work opportunities and jobs.

I am not saying here that party oriented online postings can and will prevent you’re getting a next job. What I am saying is that postings that present you as being unprofessional and that raise questions about your judgment can limit the types of jobs that you would be a stronger candidate for. So if you have longer-term goals that would take you up a table of organization to more senior management and leadership positions, or if you have political aspirations or other goals where your online history could prove important, those photos of your heavy drinking at that wild party with your friends might not help. That of course, only notes one of many possible career challenging scenarios that can and do visibly, publically appear on Facebook and every single day.

• I will be blunt here: Facebook and similar online social media pages, all too often present themselves as jobs and careers poison, for what they can and do convey that can come back to haunt you.

And that certainly holds true if you have jobs and careers, goals and expectations that would call for a strong and solid professional image on your part if you are to realize them. And looking to Facebook as a particular example of the problematical here, this is not just about what you yourself post online. It is also about the stuff that people who have “friended” you there, post too, that would show on and through your page on that site too. And unfortunately, this at least potentially applies to what your friends and associates post on that site too, that contains information (e.g. photos, etc) with you in it and even if you are not actively on the site yourself.

So no, you cannot stop the possibility of less than positive content going online through social media about you. And that is going to become an even more pressing matter as automated, artificial intelligence based facial recognition becomes even more common and prevalent in use than it already is now, with the identities of essentially everyone shown online becoming visible. But you can chose to actively avoid adding to this, and certainly where that means not posting to sites that by their very nature create longer-term jobs and careers risks. (And you can actively seek to avoid getting yourself into situations in public, and in front of other peoples’ smart phones that you would not want your mother, or your boss to see. But that is another matter.)

I am going to conclude this note with that final point, simply adding that I am certain to return to this basic topic area again. Meanwhile, you can find this and related material at Social Networking and Business 2 and also see its Page 1. And you can find still more related to this in several other posting directories on this blog as well.

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