Friday, October 06, 2006

Social Networking??

Permanent full-time position for a personal social coordinator for a New York-based web designer. Your primary responsibility will be managing my accounts with various online social networking sites including, but not limited to, Friendster, LinkedIn, Tribe, Orkut, Ryze, Spoke, ZeroDegrees, Ecademy, RealContacts, Ringo, MySpace, Yafro, EveryonesConnected, Friendzy, FriendSurfer, Tickle, Evite, Plaxo, Squiby, and WhizSpark. ,
There's even room to grow in the position:

Future duties may include discouraging companies and individuals from starting new social networking sites so that additional staff won't be necessary in the future. Past employment as a bouncer, "heavy", or hired goon may be helpful in this regard. Benefits include addition as my friend in all of the social networking sites I belong to.
:Jason Kottkee in Being your friend is hard work

In Early 2004 When ace Blogger Jason published this post . I was amused and didn’t think much about it. I thought this is the (small) price of being a celebrity . But three years down the line I am paying the price but I am (at least until now ) less than a celebrity .

On the last count I subscribed to 6 Social/Professional Networking sites ,12 mailing list and not to mention a daily dose of Digg ,reddit, Flickr, slashdot,gigaom, emergic, venturewoods etc. Sometime I have to skip my lunch or read email from home to keep up with all the action.

Strangely I don’t know how does all this got started and snowballed. I kept receiving invitation my friends .Out of courtesy or curiosity I kept accepting them and kept feeding this menace. Initially I was very excited to see all those weird request in my inbox . I was too happy when a girl from Brazil add herself in my FAN list @ orkut . I thought she must have checked my photo album J .Never before in my whole life I was so close to having a date ..or so I thought L . but I discovered that she does it for every one of her contact .

But now its time to do some math. What is the over all value addition this “get to know “ craze offer ? And how can I optimize the ROI?

First a little bit of book keeping .

In my previous assignment I have closed 3 significant deals through Linkedin . In Mobile Monday 25 people from my various networks were there including One of the prominent guest . I am in touch with few VCs and a lot of Domain experts whom I meet first time at these sites . and I am in touch with some of the most interesting folks because of them .

Not a bad score card I guess ,But i think i could have done better . how ? actually i waisted a lot of time understanding the very idea of how it work . After almost two year of using these sites I discovered few rules of game .

at the risk of being overly simplistic and redundant they are

#1 Find out the core activity/agenda of the network.

Every networking site will offer sun moon and milky way to you . don’t trust, find out from your Real World Friends what this site is being used for ?

Linked in was started as a sales referral site now it’s a De Facto Destination for recruitment of Mid to Higher level Executives .

Orkut was started as a content sharing/ URL or book mark forwarding site now it is being used as ..god knows what ..but its addictive

Flickr is for shutterbugs

My space is predominantly used for discovering music or new bands

Ryze is for exploring new business opportunity

And so on

Don’t go by websites claim about what it can do for you. Look at the flow before you jump in the conversation . and think do you really want to be a part of this ? is it what you are looking for ?
Trying to find a date at Linked in or trying to find a serious professional at Orkut is the biggest idiosyncrasy you can do . I know because I had tried to do both .

#2 Don’t Fall for Temptation:

This is more true for professional sites like Linked in and Ryze . You should not accept everyone’s invitation to connect. I have 80+ direct contacts in my linked in network I know only 60% of them. Rest 40 % are those guys whose invitation I accepted out of courtesy. Initially I used to find it very hard to refuse but now I know I need to maintain a sanity of my network so it’s good to refuse
Don’t worry you will eventually find a network which will work for you. Power of network is not in number of nodes but in connection between the nodes. As a matter of fact we only need six nodes to reach any one in world.

#3 Remember after a while It should be platform independent

Sometime back I Meet a girl at Flickr . She was lovely and everything I could have asked for in a girl (don’t worry.. I have found at least 100 such girls). I admired her photographs she admired mine and we were happy. Life was beautiful. Than one day I sent her a casual email about “ howz life? “Crap. That was the first time we talked anything outside of Photography. Guess what?? She never replied.

So what is the moral of the story ?

There is no substitute of one to one conversation .If you want to nurture a meaningful association through all these sites make it a point to connect via email ,phone ,coffee when you happen to visit there city or birthday . site specific communication are not a yardstick to measure reliability of your network . like every other good thing in life it require nurturing and you can’t out source it to orkut.

#4 Bonus :

I can safely say that much of the folks in this networking mad rush are looking for a DATE . my two cents advice for them . Chat Room, IM, IRC, ICQ are far more effective in this. Stuck to them and please clear the stage for some serious business

Incase you are a entrepreneur planning to launch a dating site . My friend Rajiv has some excellent Ideas/ Advice for you. Read it here

This is my idea of a effective use of these sites .I would love to know how you make it work for you .

Wishing you a great weekend.

P.S . Image Courtesy Masahiko


Hiren said...

Very comprehensive and interesting, Prashant. At the Chennai blog camp, some guy gave a lecture on corporate blogging. On talking to him in private, he said that he expected social networks to sprout in a big way not only for corporates but all kinds of activities. Public realtions in the future shall be through blogging platforms of similar substitutes.

Beji said...

The post was educational to me....I am yet to be(and wonder would I ever be) in social networking....but the post led me to learn about six nodes rule...hadn't known that earlier....I beleive it to be true.Thanks for the learning.

Sachin Keswani said...

WOW..inspiring insights..u gave me new food for thought..six degrees..and thats is going to take my next week:)...
u r right for orkut..i was wondering if u aware of facebook,hi5 and openbc(very good business networkign far the most professional I found)..

mayank said...

pretty gud info below...nice

soo said...

great post!

Rajiv said...

hey.. thanks for the link love! :)

Sunder said...

Hey, I saw that you had some background on recruitment/staffing. We were wondering if you would take a look at and give us some feedback. Sorry, for using your comment system, I didnt see your email.

arunvijayan said...

Delightful Insights. But I have successfuly done recruitment from Orkut. I am not sure how effective it will be in the future. But now, it is an unofficial 'monster' to me. You talk to them first, you see how passionate they are with the stuff they are doing, you if you see this is it, ask them to send their resume.

To start with it, check the communities they have membership.