This year I have made a commitment to do a better job connecting with people with similar interests though online communities. I have accounts with twitter (in which I have no idea how it is helpful to me) Myspace, Facebook and few others but haven’t done anything with them. Maybe one day I will, who knows. To quote Seth Godin “I don't want to use a tool unless I'm going to use it really well.” I don’t have time for every community. I want to focus on communities that I visit daily and really enjoy. I have been active with recruitingblogs.com for a while. I have now decided to expand to building relationships though ERE.net and Linkedin.com. I have been visiting the sites for a while, but have not been active in the communities.
It “feels” different to build professional relationships online then in person. People that are uncomfortable in networking situations are able to connect with people with similar interests comfortably and share best practices online. I connect with people far and wide that I probably never would have connected with if it wasn’t for online communities. I have also reconnected with past colleagues and have reconnected friends that lost contact years ago.
I have noticed people with thousands of contacts. Often they know these people in one form or another even if it was just for a moment in time. I don’t know if I could manage them effectively.
I meet great people and discover interesting Blogs that I truly enjoy reading. I occasionally send out invitations to Bloggers from sites I read regularly, people I connected to in some way or are involved in similar discussions. These people have similar interests to me and I learn from them and often I am inspired. Some people know me or my Blog but I am sure people have said “Who is this?” just as I have for others.
I have some apprehensions about connecting online. Who are these people anyway? “He appears to be nice and has a friendly avatar but did he create his profile from jail?” I had one reader contact me. I truly appreciate that he enjoys reading my Blog and hope he continues. He complimented me and I do appreciate that. I looked at his Blog and realized that I don’t want to make a direct connection. His Blog appeared to bash candidates. If you read my Blog regularly you know that offends me. I was a candidate once and so were you. I do hope he keeps reading and respects my choice.
I try to pick my online “connections,” contacts,” “friends,” as carefully as I can. I want to feel connected in some way by similar prospective, interests or friends. As far as communities…you can’t pick your neighbors but you can choose the ones that you consider “friends.”
I will look back on this post next year and see if my views have shifted. Maybe I will have 1000+ contacts from all over the globe and may I will have 100.
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