Do I need to use social networks for work?

Posted on March 18, 2012

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If you’re reading this post there’s a good chance you’re here because I published a link over something like Facebook or LinkedIn. In many ways, this isn’t for you – it’s for those friends or family members who see you chuckling at status updates, hear about how you’ve spruced up your career history online or maybe roll their eyes as you send a tweet.

It’s for the non-believers. Or are they just the sane ones?

The majority of adults in the UK are now on Facebook. Others of us (about 120 million worldwide now) take an interest in looking good on LinkedIn. Some – maybe because work requires it, maybe because you find it fun (or it replaces aspects of Facebook) – use Twitter.

Then there are true believers. They are almost certainly on Google+. Quite possibly also using services such as Tumblr, YouTube (with a profile, uploading rather than just viewing), Flickr and Pinterest for images, maybe Spotify and Last.fm for music.

There are plenty of variations on these. One of my favourite sites, namechk.com, allows users to enter a name and see if it’s been taken on some 80 or more such services. (Pretty useful if you’re looking for consistency.)

But, back from that digression, what if someone isn’t using any of these? They’ve never been told they have to (by a boss). They’ve never felt the need.

I ask this because if you’re, let’s say, 40 years old and you’re in the refusenik category, do you really imagine being able to spend the next 30 years (maybe more in some professions) without this kind of connectivity?

My dad is long retired. He is more than happy to have left the world of computers behind. (I can’t win that argument.) And, you know, in some ways I get that, given his age.

But if you’re 40, just to underline all this, there’s a chance we’re not even talking about professional years ahead. How about another 60 years alive?

Or to put it another way: What happens the next time you’re looking for a job?

That’s very different to a mandate from a current employer. That’s all about how we get work (whether full-time or as someone who’s self-employed).

How to look good online is increasingly important. People Google you. They look for silly pictures, silly user names, maybe even just your mugshot. Our online identities are part of who we are, for better or for worse.

But what if you’re not even in the game? Is that worse?

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Posted in: Social media, Work