People who are competing in this fierce world need to communicate with their peers, they need to be responsive to their constituents, and they need to share their abilities with others as a matter of goodwill in order to; in turn be good netizens.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds of social network sites online today, some are better than others, some are necessary, some are specialty networks, and others are just emerging. I am on most of them and really have not found a use for some of them yet, but I am trudging on and trying to complete my profiles to strengthen my social media brand. There are approximately 10 sites that I visit daily and depend on them to be able to serve my clients, all of my 32 clients I currently maintain are online except one and even he is trying to learn enough about the internet to be able to use it well.
To be a good communicator you have to participate in the communication that is taking place. For the purpose of this article we are talking about being visible to others who are participating in the communication that is taking place on the Internet. We must be present in order to communicate and we have to be responsive to communicate.
Herein I define four basic social networking types as presence networking, professional networking, share networking, and passive display networking. Some networks have more than you need or want and can divert your attention from your online purpose, so be careful. Many networks can serve multiple purposes now because they have evolved from their original purpose into something more.
To have an online presence today you need to participate in presence networking with friends. The networks that promote this type of networking include Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Hi5 and several others. Facebook seems to be the best and I have not found much use for the others, but I maintain minor or incomplete profiles on them just so users can contact me I hope someday to be able to complete those profiles but that may not happen unless Obama adds a few hours to the clock. My daughter who is in high school prefers MySpace, as do many under the age of 18, my son who is in college prefers Facebook.
Just about everyone I am doing business with also uses a professional network for business networking purposes. Here in Venezuela, I became the number one social networker using this type of network and in December shortly thereafter I was appointed the Ambassador for one of them. These types of networks let you post and display your professional credentials, your CV, seek employment, and network with others in your professional field. They are excellent networks for creating your professional identity as well; they include XING formerly known as OpenBC, ecademy, LinkedIn and several others. I became the number one networker in Venezuela on ecademy in August of 2008, and became the Ambassador in Venezuela for XING in late December. I became especially fond of XING because they purchased econozco and neurona which were dominant professional networks in Latin America, being in Caracas it makes sense; also with the economy going into a dive I further thought it would be good to be connected in Germany where XING is based. XING is also attractive because they merged with Social|Median in December which has a large US market share and very innovative technologies which will be incorporated soon by the Social|Median founder Jason Goldberg who became known as one of the brightest social network developers in the world in 2008 and now he is also vice-president at XING. LinkedIn was always a little harder to use in my opinion and some of the groups there spam a lot by posting ads like "connect with me I accept contacts," but I maintain a profile there as well to be more connective with US networkers and potential clients.
I consider share networking a good way to connect with people that have similar interests and likes some of these networks include Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and quite a few others like Social|Median who have taken this type of social media to another level by associating and incorporating "twitter".
Passive display networking has been around since the emergence of the Internet, it is simply the posting of a profile with contact information online using a personal home page. If you use your old website well and integrate it with the other social media sites you can get a pretty good rank on Google and with other search engines. Use of a personal home page should be well written using the latest html or xhtml language. If you need help with this consult one of the many resources on the Internet, I personally use several editors depending on my mood but I am especially partial to HTML-Kit.
I included two links to Wikipedia and another new site below for further reference and your personal exploration. I hope this article gives my clients and group members for March a good start with establishing their social network presence. I'll be back with my formal article on ethics and good practices in the next few days and perhaps another article tomorrow. Until then, Ciao from Caracas!
Information that may help you.
Wikipedia: What is a Social Network?
Wikipedia: List of Social Network Websites
New Website Social Network List