- Internet & the Web
A Basic Guide to Online Networking
In today’s world everyone is hooked into the web. Online networking or social networking is expanding and offline or physical networking is either shrinking or at the same stable level. Professional or social websites for online networking has found its way to everybody’s laptop/desktop. The success of the same made us realize that business relationships can be created and maintained over online platform and online dating and relationships showed us how deeply we can get involved.
This article is an attempt to just have an overview of the entire phenomena called “Online Networking”. In today’s world, we predominantly see two types of online networking: -
1. E-Mail: - Networking created through emails was the founding structure of online networking. The creation of emails has increased the opportunity of connecting with people whom we never knew.
2. Social Networking: - Websites like Facebook and Twitter has opened up a new style or art of networking where people started to share their views much more openly that the offline networking mode.
Though there are pros and cons attached with online networking, the advantages are clear. And it is the responsibility of the individual to drive it up to its potential. Online networking is a great platform to share your thoughts with an individual or a group of people with common likes and dislikes. Most of the organizations are taking advantage by promoting their products or even launching their products online much before the physical launch. Research, surveys etc are lot more easily to do where the target audiences can quickly be identified.
Before you start to have an online identity, the following must be completed: -
1. Online Profile: A good online profile attracts lots of people and you should be very choosy about the description and the information to be added or modified. A photo of your brand or yourself is highly recommended.
2. Branding: Personal Branding is very essential and you should know your objective for being in online networking. Be very clear of the brand (either you or your product) and look out for potential targets.
3. Communications: The online networking has changed the way we communicate and the contents are either abbreviated or short. Very specific, creative content will surely boost your brand.
4. Explore: Do a basic study of similar profiles and their networks online. This will help you if you are new to the networking.
Once the online profile is uploaded, it is quite easy to get towards the targeted audiences. Today, social networking sites have lots of classification based on demographic, socio-economic and obviously related to common interests.
As said earlier, it is very easy to create online profile for the networking but keeping it up to date is a tough one. There are lots of changes in our day to day life and we must make a decision what needs to be reflected on our online profile.
Better Online Networking
Here are the following suggestions for a better online networking: -
1. Online Etiquette: Etiquettes must be referred based on the platform you connect to. For example I will strongly suggest having very different etiquettes for Facebook and LinkedIn. Our etiquettes depend on the type of networking we are logged into.
2. Classify Relationships: Just because you are connected to a person, it doesn’t mean that you have a personal relationship with that individual. Business networking should not be mixed with personal networking and nowadays online networking sites provide different ways of classifying your connect.
3. Review Personal Identity: - Your online profile and networks should be reviewed periodically and it should be provided with accurate information only. After all you have a choice of what to share. But I suggest no wrong information to be shared.
4. Contribute: Keep contributing to your network. Sharing any information relevant to the subject of your networking connect will improve your credibility and popularity through online networking.
5. Think Before you reply: - This is much common to online as well offline networking. Few basic rules of relationship remain same.
Future of Online Networking
Online Networking is here to stay for long. We are just experiencing the beginning of a new era. In future, there will be innumerous websites for online networking and the individual needs to think twice before picking the right one. Our friends and business partners will be a connect away and I hope lots of schools and universities will formulate their own course materials to improve the social networking.
But at the same time, I see Privacy and Piracy as two evil faces of online networking. And I am also sure that the technological developments in the coming years will have a solution for it.