In this article, I will introduce you to five easy ways to dive deeper into Web 2.0’s array of social networking tools. There are numerous websites and ways to get started. With these tips, you will easily be able to:
- Efficiently build, develop, and maintain an online professional network
- Discover new career, research, or business opportunities
- Remove barriers to collaboration
Here are the five specific ways in which you can get started with social networking right away:
Create a profile. Start with creating an account and profile on the social network of your choice. You can choose from a wide array of sites including open-ended business networks such as LinkedIn or Xing, where member backgrounds span multiple vertical professions and industries. You can also choose more specific networks in a variety of niche professions. Here are some ideas and examples of niche networks:
Medical imaging and radiology: radRounds,
Research and science: ResearchGate,
Medical/biology scientists: Epernicus,
Physicians of all specialties: Sermo,
Add a “friend” or professional connection. Once you start your account, search for friends or colleagues already on the network. If you don’t find them, “invite” your contacts and colleagues. Easily find and maintain contact with colleagues and alumni from business, school, or prior training (i.e., residency or fellowship). You may even find new friendships and spawn new dynamic relationships based on common interests and experience
Share a link. Don’t be shy—post an interesting link or reference to a news article, job posting, or research finding. On social networks, once you post an interesting item, your contacts will also be informed. They may even comment, respond, or re-share the link.
Send a file. All of the suggested social networks enable online archiving and sharing of media, whether it is a presentation, PDF file, or image attachment. If you are a radiologist, post an image to share with friends if you see an interesting case. If you need to share a presentation file with a new contact you made at the latest scientific conference, try using social networking sites as a way to share the file and also to network with new colleagues.
Post a question or discuss the latest news. Now that you have a growing professional network online, try seeking information, help, or consults from your own community of experts. You can also discuss the latest question or answer questions your network may have posed.
Social networking offers you a rich online presence with many potential gains in productivity, educational opportunities, and other career benefits. These tips hopefully will make it easy for you to get started in discovering contacts and using new social media tools for sharing expertise with like-minded others, across town or across the globe.