A Semester with Sonnhalter

Interning in Public Relations

Posts Tagged ‘Social networks’

Social Networks Offer Great Opportunites Beyond Making Friends

Posted by sonnhalter on December 18, 2008

socialnetworks1Most people, especially people my age, think of social networks like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, as places to just make friend connections. While this is definitely true, these networks can be utilized in so many other ways also.

Connections beyond your friends

One of the really valuable elements of social networks is the ability to connect with people in your profession without ever having to leave your house. There are professional groups, pages, causes, etc. for every topic imaginable and now a days you can find most people with an account, including professors and professionals.

When I was working on the “Do It Now” campaign for a class a few semesters ago, I went on Facebook and became ‘friends’ with other people working on the same campaign in different states. I became connected with people across the nation who had participated in the same project and could help me with it. I was also able to join many groups that supported our cause and get opinions on the topic from a broader audience. These ties were vital to our work; two of our main tactics were developed from the connections made through the social network.

Meet the professionalstotalpercentages

Most professionals have caught onto the social networking wave and have made accounts for themselves. I am ‘friends’ with both my professors and co-workers on Facebook and Twitter advisors, professors and some people.

First, by doing this you really get to know a person. My professors who update their page or status often are seen in a completely different light now. Making connections with my professors on Facebook has made me feel more connected with them. Because I can read their interests and opinions online I haven’t been as intimidated by them in the classroom.

When I started at my internships becoming friends with my co-workers online helped me connect better with them in person. You can find things in common even though you don’t have the time to get into extensive conversations during work hours. I felt like it really helped me feel more part of the team.

It can help you learn an organization

Social networks can help you learn about an organization too. A lot of organizations have taken advantage of Web 2.0 and have Facebook pages or MySpace accounts, where people can find information about the organization.

Before I applied for my internship with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, I went online and checked out its Facebook page. Komen is a great example of an organization taking advantage of social networking. They utilize about every tool available to them and as I discovered when I started working there, have someone monitor Web 2.0 and update their various elements.

On Facebook alone, they have a pink ribbon application, causes within the cause application, several pages, Facebook accounts and several groups. All the elements are updated and each has received an enormous response from users.

I was able to learn a lot about the organization before I even accepted the internship and was ‘friends’ with several employees before I ever met them in person.

So next time you browsing your social network of choice, keep in mind how you can use it to your advantage professionally.

I do want to make a note that I am specifically talking about just social networks that are typically used for friend connections not professional networks like LinkedIn.

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