Form Networks by Participating in Online Communities - dummies

Form Networks by Participating in Online Communities

By Deborah Ng

Though in-person networking events still happen, online networking and communities now give people the opportunity to meet important people without even having to dress up. Professional networks abound online. Whatever a person does for a living, she can find a place to talk about it online.

Even better, many of these groups are visited, at least occasionally, by some of the power players in the field. The best part of online networking is the interaction of “ordinary” people with both the high-ranking and the up-and-comers. Brand executives, chief executive officers, and potential clients are all online. Even people who aren’t necessarily there to do businesses can offer important references.

Suppose that a web designer is spending time on Twitter. He may talk web design now and then, but most of his interaction involves conversations about many things. He may talk about what he had for dinner or how he’s going to a ball game over the weekend, but folks will also remember what he does for a living.

This recognition will come in handy when someone approaches his online friends, looking for a recommendation for web design. They’ll probably remember him and make the introduction.

Like your community’s members, you never know how many important people you’re socializing with online. The man who you discuss baseball with every day may be someone who’s in a position to hire someone like you. All online interactions, regardless of where they’re happening, are with potential clients or employers, even if you’re not looking for work at the moment.

Online friendships always have the potential to be something more. Some people associate with only those members who have a high count of Twitter followers or who are major names in the blogosphere because they want to be associated with the company they keep. The people in your online communities are the same people who might review your books or send traffic to your websites.

Every connection you make online is important, even if you don’t realize it at the time.