The thoughtful answer is it depends.
As you know, the world is changing and this change is occurring at an accelerating rate. In the late 90’s it was all about dot.coms and having a website. Many people resisted having a website and some professionals still do not have one.
Many people did not want to have a cell phone; they did not see why they needed to be “tied” to the phone. Now, parents face the dilemma of when to give their children cell phones that are internet enabled!
Today, we are in the early stage of the “Social Networking” revolution. This means individuals and companies have opportunities to distinguish themselves in ways that never existed before.
First, let us look at the question of “Do YOU need Social Networking” from a personal perspective.
What do you want to achieve? What are your personal goals and ambitions? Do you want to be the CEO of your personal company and in charge of your own destiny, or be an “individual contributor” for a large corporation? Either choice is correct; it depends on what you want to accomplish in your life.
No matter which choice you make, Social Networking lets you build and maintain extremely large networks of friends that know, respect, and trust you.
If you want to be, an “individual contributor” and just want to stay in touch and share “what am I doing updates”, pictures, and videos that is possible. There is not much to do. You do not need a plan. You do not have to establish yourself as a thought leader. After all, you know the company you are employed by will take good take of you.
Do you want something more? Do you realize that if you wait, you may not attain your objectives and your competitors will!
First, you need a plan, which will include how to build a strong social network as a foundation with the focus that assists you, and decide where you wish to position yourself. From there, where do you go? Do you want to become a thought leader in the area that you enjoy and know? How will you be seen above the crowd in your area of expertise? How will you build a sustainable “Long Tail” using Social Networking?
We advise people who attend our workshops and webinars that it is time to:
After building the plan, it is time to investigate what others are doing, figure out how you can use it, build on it, improve it, or invent something totally different and better. That is leadership!
Investigating what others are doing takes a lot of time and focus, but with the internet, anyone can investigate what others are doing.
Obviously, there are ways to save time, gain insights into what others are doing, and understand the tools that are available. One suggestion is to attend webinars that are GEAR-ed to presenting a process for accomplishing your goals. These webinars must aid you in “Thinking Differently” and lead you toward “Thinking Creatively.” Further, webinars should supply you with the tools to be effective in a short period of time, and allow your creative side to thrive!
You now have many choices you have never had previously. At times, this new opportunity can be a little daunting. The good news is you do not have to do it all at once.
With the right planning, training and support, you will succeed. You know your industry. Your specialist knows today’s tools and what others are doing with them. Ask questions and seek the assistance of a qualified guide. You will prosper and be seen as a leader in your field!
We will cover Social Networking for companies in a future blog –
Inspired by a lively discussion with our “friends and advisors” at the monthly Silicon Valley Leadership Alliance (SVLA) regarding the impact on “Social Networking” on our futures as professionals.