Tuesday, April 8, 2008

More Adventures in eNetworking

Well, I’ve added a few new networking sites to my virtual portfolio based on recommendations. The first was ryze Business Networking. Like most sites, it allows you to create a profile, invite friends, and link with current members. It also has several different networking sites based on interests and backgrounds. I signed up for Women In Networking, which seems to be a very active site. There are postings our there on topics from, asking for advice on successful fundraising strategies to advice on online dating. I just posted my first discussion topic and will be interested in seeing what kind of replies I get.

I’d hoped to be able to post an update on Smaller Indiana. I have been to the website and liked what I saw. I’ve been having problems with getting my profile approved for membership. I’m not sure if there’s a bug in the software or if my application for membership was rejected, but I keep getting the same request to complete a profile. I’ve recently submitted my profile for the fifth (and last) time. I’ll let you know how it goes.

It wasn’t a total waste of time though, since through the Smaller Indiana site I learned about Ning which is a site that will allow you to create your own social network. Since I had a free evening, I decided to go in and do just that! It didn’t take long till the Women & Hi Tech Network was born. We had a lot of discussion about how we could take advantage of our network for mentoring, sharing ideas, etc. This may just provide the forum to do so. I hope you’ll check out the site, sign up, and encourage your friends to do so as well. After all, that’s what networking is all about!

As I said in my last post, I’ve learned that virtual networking is, well, work. Like anything else, you will only get out of it what you put into it. As Sabine pointed out in her comment to my last post, this doesn’t mean “selling”. Rather, it means interacting, sharing your thoughts, answering a question, providing others with the benefit of your experiences. You don’t want to be an online wall flower. Of course, as Gary pointed out, what you do online will also depend on your goals. If you’re looking for a job, your approach will be much different than if you want to build contacts, get referrals, or promote your business.

Here’s what I’ve been up to in the past couple of weeks. On LinkedIn I was able to reconnect with colleagues from one of my former companies. I also decided to try out the “Answers” tab to send out a question to my network. If you’re in my network, you will have gotten the question. I wrote my first recommendation and will also see about getting some recommendations of my own.

I was thrilled last week when I opened up Naymz to find that I’d achieved a Rep Score of 10 (that’s the highest). My network has grown to 48 and 34 people have agreed to be a reference for me. However, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. Since I had to start from scratch, I put real thought into who I wanted to invite into my network. I feel that everyone currently in my network can really vouch for me and my abilities.

My Squidoo Lens hasn’t really generated much interest. I’m viewing this as a learning experience, rather than failure. So, what have I learned? Well first of all, I didn’t put too much time into building the site. I may be able to make some refinements to make it better. I’ve also done little to promote the site beyond providing the link in this blog. They do have a great reference tool they call Squidaholc, which provides lots of information on marketing tools and web searches. It’s definitely something I want to review in more depth.

I’m probably most disappointed by the Fast Company site. They boast hundreds of thousands of members but their online community just doesn’t seem to be that active. I have posted to several of the discussion groups but have yet to get a response. I’m not surprised since some of the groups haven’t had a new posting since February. Now, they do have other great resources, articles, links to blogs, etc. I just don’t find it a very interactive site.

Well, that’s all for now. I still have time before our next meetings to do a bit more research and post my findings. I hope more of you will join the discussion and share your experiences as well.

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