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Can You Carry a Good Conversation? The Basic of Social Networking

Social networks can be referred to as a complex social structure in which people connect with one another. Social networks have been around for as long as there have been human beings. People established networks by interacting with one another. Now that there is internet, which allows people to break the physical boundaries and connect with others in almost everywhere and at any time, will people find it easier to build a social network?

Indeed, it is often just one click away from connecting with someone online, but think deeper, there is no shortcut for building a real social network. Let’s say if we want to establish a professional relationship with a potential business partner in a traditional setting. First, we will find ways to get introduced to the partner. Then, we want to speak to the partner on the phone, in person, or at least with e-mail/mail. Such conversation provides a good opportunity for both parties to assess each other’s work and ideas. If both parties are interested and able to carry a continuous conversation, a network can be established.

Likewise in the cyber world, online connections may not necessarily mean social networks. For example, there are online connections we know nothing about other than their name and job title. There are also connections we might know in person but do not talk to each other for years. Will you trust a connection like that and do business with him/her? If we cannot even trust a person’s profile, how can this connection turn into a beneficial relationship? Will you still consider this person part of your social networks?

If we want to turn our online connections into our valuable social networks, we must be able to network with our connections through on-going conversations. I believe the following networking tactics may help:

·         Update all user profiles in social networking sites. Make sure there are a professional picture and a brief work history that shows a person’s work ethic.
·         Make notes about the connections, which can be used as references for follow-up conversations. LinkedIn, for example, allows users to write notes on their first connections’ profiles. Such notes are only visible to the user himself/herself.
·         Interact with connections by clicking “Like” or posting a short comment on their updates. Ask questions if the topic/conversation interests you.
·         Send birthday wishes, season’s greetings, and “congratulations” to connections if they post good news.  
·         Share useful information on connections’ wall or through e-mail if they might have interest.
·         Tag or mention connections in an update or a picture on one's own wall if the connections may have interest.
·         Ask intellectual questions and seek feedback from the networks.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn provide an additional means for people to stay connected. However, just as what we do in a traditional setting, we must continuously engage with our connections on social networking sites to build a valuable social network.  

How important do you see an on-going conversation in a relationship? What other tactics will you suggest to help people better engage with their connections on social networking sites?

References:
The picture was downloaded from BoundaryInterFaces.WordPress.com 

Comments

  1. I feel that social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, have greatly affected peoples conversational abilities. Almost everyone you talk to has a Facebook and people are always looking to add friends to their Facebook. What value does this have? If you have over 1,000 friends on Facebook does that mean you have a strong social network? Many times people with over 1,000 friends only speak to a quarter of them, if that. In response to your question about is it easier to build a social network? I believe in a sense yes, but I don't believe that is the type of social network you would want to build. It is easy to be able to add someone to an internet networking site and consider them to be a part of your network. However, this does not mean you know anything about the person. Until you speak with someone directly and have a conversation of sorts, they are not considered part of your network. At least, that is my belief on that. If you can not hold a conversation then the connection or network you are building is minimal at best. In order to have a strong network, you need to be able to carry on a conversation.

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  2. One of my favorite things about the clubs is how different it is from other forums. Specifically, keeping the conversations from being self-promotional. Sure, there are your profiles where people can learn about who you are and what you do, but really the clubs are about asking questions and getting answers. Plus, you got to love the badges you earn along the way depending on how active you are on the website. It’s always a blast to see what your new title is once you’ve leveled up.

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