Social Networking for Professionals

Online Social Networks such as Facebook and MySpace are fun ways to stay connected to past classmates and colleagues. However, as far as social networks go, there are other networks that provide a more professional feel (i.e. I am willing to wager that you will never find photos of keg stands on LinkedIn). LinkedIn is a networking tool for professionals. It has over 36 million professionals from 170 industries, including Libraries, Higher Education, and Information Technology & Services.

Creating a free profile on LinkedIn enables you to find, be introduced to, and collaborate with professionals both near and far. Adding people to your list of “Connections” expands your professional network, allowing you to see people in the networks of your Connections (2nd Degree Connections) and even the networks of your Connections’ Connections (3rd Degree Connections). No one will be listed as a 1st Degree Connection without your confirmation.

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Once you have established a list of Connection, you can then use LinkedIn to find career and collaboration opportunities, to be introduced to others through mutual contacts, and to be recommended by people who know your work.

discussion_sm1You can further expand your network by joining LinkedIn Groups, such as ALA, ACRL, alumni associations, etc. Groups allow you to see updates on what other members are doing and initiate/participate in group discussion forums.

In 2008, LinkedIn began allowing members to embed select online services within their profile pages. For example, you can embed a polling tool, Amazon reading lists, and feeds for your latest posts to WordPress and/or SlideShare. As soon as I publish this post, it will automatically appear on my LinkedIn profile!

I believe the more you play around in LinkedIn the more you will benefit from it, so why not get started? Create a profile highlighting your education and work experience, make Connections, and experiment with the many career development features LinkedIn has to offer.

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Professional networking with SlideShare

Drat, you missed the Internet Librarian 2008 conference! Don’t fret. You didn’t get the tote bag, but you can still learn from the conference presenters. Their presentations have been posted to SlideShare.net. As have the slide presentations of millions of scholars and professionals worldwide.

SlideShare is free and easy to use. The site allows you to post and view PowerPoint, OpenOffice, and PDF presentations. You can also add audio to your presentations, by syncing the slides with an mp3 URL, thus producing SlideCasts that can be easily added to blogs and websites with a SlideShare widget.

Slides can be made publicly available to an international audience or made private for a select group of viewers. Like the organizers of the Internet Librarian 2008 conference, you can archive presentations from events you have organized or group other people’s presentations based on your own criteria.

SlideShare encourages professional networking. You can join groups that interest you or establish contacts with people who post interesting content. Like other social networking sites, SlideShare allows members to post public comments or send private messages to other members’ profiles.

With millions of members worldwide, there is always something new to explore on SlideShare. Checkout the “Slideshow of the Day” (today’s is about How people really use the iPhone) and other featured presentations. The site is full of opportunities for learning and sharing. Try it.