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Thread: Online social networks

  1. #1
    Cyburbian kw5280's avatar
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    Online social networks

    Has anyone had success in finding work or creating buzz about yourself using any of the social network sites like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter? I keep hearing from various sources that this is the new way to increase your network and conduct a career search but I'm not exactly sure how that works. Especially with Facebook or Twitter which aren't geared towards professional information.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I am fairly certain they are pretty much useless unless you're in sales. Using them to supplement face to face networking is something else though.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    My basic understanding is that LinkedIn does help supplement a person-to-person network but Facebook is mostly for your social life.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    I have Linkedin and the way I have seen people 'network' on there is posting things on the professional groups, for example if you join the APA group you will see several people posting profession-relating articles and discussing them. Sort of like here, but on LinkedIn it is not anonymous. I have heard of facebook used in a similar way but we are banned from it at work so I don't use it much for networking. There are professional groups on there, like my state APA chapter has a group.
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I really don't get the point of LinkedIn when there's Facebook. I guess LinkedIn is supposed to be more "professional", but it really never helped me with social networking or, during my six-month spell of unemployment last year, finding a new job. I get LinkedIn link requests from time to time, but it's mostly planners and students from India that I've never met or even heard of.

    Cyburbia just started tweeting new posts in the Planning and Built Environment forums, and the occasional off-topic message. I think of Twitter as a supplement to RSS feeds, but unlike RSS it's really taken off as a phenomenon of its own. If yo're looking to make a name for yourself in the field, though, I tink Twittering is best done in conjunction with a real urban-related blog.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Facebook is cluttered with Dan just took the "What kind of beer can are you?" FB quiz and the result is Dos XX. In contrast, LinkedIn actually seems to have something of a brain.

    I have recently found the latter to be useful in my career re-direction. Most of my former contractors are on there, and they are linked to other folks I know. For most of my W-9 career, it's been difficult to come up with references. (Former supervisors aren't allowed to say anything. A long-time musical partner has a mad-on and he dissed me in an important reference session. The other bicycle specialty company owners, next to whom I sold things at special events for 15 years, can't be bothered.)

    On LinkedIn I can determine who my real business colleagues are, and find someone more tangible than the Abraham Lincoln presenter or the fiddle player or the township commissioner who first campaigned me for that gig (eight years ago now).
    Last edited by Veloise; 14 Aug 2009 at 4:54 PM. Reason: I am on a 'bent at the Y and it's hard to type!

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Facebook is cluttered with Dan just took the "What kind of beer can are you?" FB quiz and the result is Dos XX. In contrast, LinkedIn actually seems to have something of a brain.

    I have recently found the latter to be useful in my career re-direction. Most of my former contractors are on there, and they are linked to other folks I know. For most of my W-9 career, it's been difficult to come up with references. (Former supervisors aren't allowed to say anything. A long-time musical partner has a mad-on and he dissed me in an important reference session. The other bicycle specialty company owners, next to whom I sold things at special events for 15 years, can't be bothered.)

    On LinkedIn I can determine who my real business colleagues are, and find someone more tangible than the Abraham Lincoln presenter or the fiddle player or the township commissioner who first campaigned me for that gig (eight years ago now).
    I'll second Vel on this. I would not use FB for networking. However, I would be careful what I posted on FB because a prospective employer may look you up on it. LinkedIn is all right and is more professionally related. My favorite sight/feed in STaR-it's the most relevant. Plus the APA/AICP pages and feeds are better than the APA website. As for networking, I blow off the personell/services feeds. They look like spam. The best way is to keep beating the bushes on different websites.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    LinkedIn?

    I wonder if the two years since this thread was last active has changed the thoughts on LinkedIn?

    I've never created an account myself, but I'm starting to get more and more requests to do so from my peers. Has anybody found any professional benefit to using this? I've also heard that many people are putting it on their resumes. Why?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by ThePinkPlanner View post
    I wonder if the two years since this thread was last active has changed the thoughts on LinkedIn?

    I've never created an account myself, but I'm starting to get more and more requests to do so from my peers. Has anybody found any professional benefit to using this? I've also heard that many people are putting it on their resumes. Why?
    I have used LinkedIn for a few years and there is some marginal benefit, but like Zoominfo I think it's better for sales.

    1. Join groups and get involved in discussions, especially local chapters of professional organizations. If your area doesn't have a group start one yourself and recruit people.
    2. Attend actual networking events (social gatherings, meetings, conventions) that are advertised on this group. Yes, this could mean looking beyond the local APA chapter and joining other groups.
    3. LinkedIn also has "people you may know" which recommends new connections based on your existing connections.
    4. Have a well polished profile. It should outline your accomplishments and involvement, especially in the Summary (which is an elevator speech).
    5. IF you mention LinkedIn on a hard copy resume, which I do on a case-by-case basis, make sure that the resume parallels your LinkedIn account. You don't want to have a hard copy resume that is GIS heavy point to LinkedIn profile that is economic development heavy.
    6. Be patient. Think of LinkedIn as more of an informational interviewing tool rather than a job interviewing tool. You are there to get more information about other people and companies (although Zoominfo can also help with this). Despite LinkedIn's claims I seriously doubt that there are 2nd or 3rd tier connections that are the gatekeeper's to actual interviews.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  10. #10
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    nrschmid references a good point but let me make it more explicit--ALL of these tools are useless they're part of a larger, more comprehensive, networking/marketing/branding strategy. they only serve to supplement or reinforce, NOT replace, traditional networking activities. as such, if there's not much to supplement or reinforce to begin with, they don't do much.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    I agree with Veloise. Much of the stuff people post to facebook astounds me. I do not care if your dog has diareah. I do not care if you got wasted last night or waited 3 hours to eat at the new Five guys when you could have drove another 10 minutes to eat at the old Five Guys. I do not want to know when you are on vacation (incidentally this also tells your 'friends' break-in and steal my $h!t). I do not want to see how you attended the Kid Rock show or annouce the second after the Tigers win, that "We" won.

    The level of stupidity of some of these FB postings is amazing. Its almost as if people do not think that once this information is out there, it can be accessed by current or future employers. It makes many look like they are stooges without lives or can't keep thier personal business together.

    Linked in does not do that. The worst perspective employees can find out is that you belong to the Michigan Planners and have posted your own thoughts on a subject. It does not mean you can't comprimise or barring that you post something like "At last nights City Council meeting the Mayor got into a laser fight with martians while I got wasted" have anything that could be used against you in the future.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    I can monitor "who visits my profile" through my Job Seeker Basic membership. This is an invaluable tool to monitor traffic and is not available on the free version. It will include specific names of people (unless they are an anonymous LinkedIn User). I have seen very few, if any, potential employers visit my LinkedIn profile, even if I include it on a resume. As a personal choice, I am extremely cautious who I include as a connection (like Facebook friends) which is why both lists are relatively small.
    I am almost ready to disconnect two out-of-work planners who repeatedly visit my profile, sometimes every week, which is just very disturbing (and I've called them both out on it). I agree with DetroitPlanner, there are several connections, including cousins, who post the most crude and vulgar comments on their Facebook profiles, without any care to the world.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  13. #13
    Cyburbian LTKS's avatar
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    I would NEVER network via Facebook. Just not what it is for, in my opinion.

    I've found at least one good purpose for using LinkedIn. When you're searching for a job, use it to look at who your potential boss would be, who you'd be supervising, and/or generally who your coworkers might be. It can give you a sense of who you'll be spending your time with. For me, this is important because as we all know, we tend to spend more time with coworkers than our spouse, children, etc. Did they go to a similar school, or a school that you went to? Did they have similar professional experiences than you? And so on.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian azmodela's avatar
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    I think most that have replied to this post are out of touch with social networking and the original question. The following of a message board with limited viewing backs this up.

    All of the big sites (Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc) are great sources for networking if you set them up and use them properly. Remember to figure your settings in a manner than support your intentions. You can block people from updates, you can block people from writing things on your wall, seeing pictures, and a bunch of other things. You can also unfriend people that post info on their latest bar conquest.

    Remember to use it wisely and post or do things that support your intent. I know a younger professional planner embrace social media to the fullest, but in a professional manner. He's gone from being laid off, starting his own consulting firm that eventually merged into a larger consulting firm (to establish a local presence), and obtain an adjunct professor job at the local university. This is all because of his social media presence. He posts relevant planning issues and articles, local what's happening types of issues and other minimally personal items. This all happened in a town where there are few planning hires in recent years.

    Just like anything, social media is what you make of it. You can stick to hardcopy portfolios or message boards, they'll get you leads. Or you can be proactive, let people quietly follow your professional doings, and become sought after.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    My facebook account is mostly classmates from High School or Grade school. I am on the reunion committee so I find it an invaluable tool to get the word out about it. Other than that I see little use for it. I am so unconcerned about my posting of questionable stuff that my boss is a friend. It turns out we were linked up though a guy I went to grade school with. Both sit on a local catholic school board.

    My agency has a facebook page. I am not a member of it, though I do check on it once in a while. We use it for public involvement. If someone should comment on one of my projects I am told by the adminstrator and we work together to respond to it.

    I did not become a planner to create a buzz about myself. I became one to fix the ills of my hometown.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  16. #16
    Cyburbian azmodela's avatar
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    I should have noted that most of this thread originated in 2009, social networks and the use of them have come a long way in those short two years.

    Detroit - it's not about creating a buzz about yourself, although some do, my opinion was aimed at those seeking a job as the original poster asked. They're a great tool to find a job, and in these times you have to look at and be open to almost any method. If you looked at the posters here, pretty much all said they think it's useless for a job search. That's roughly 10 posters in this thread that don't use it for a job search, or 10 less people to compete with in the social search!

  17. #17
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    LinkedIn

    I'm unemployed at the moment and looking for work in planning, so LinkedIn has not, as of yet, bore any tangible fruit for me. That being said, a career services person from my undergraduate institution found me and connected through LinkedIn. She was then able to put me in touch with another alum who has been very helpful in my job search and continued networking.

    Bottom line: LinkedIn isn't going to drop jobs on your lap very often, if at all. It will however, provide a place to showcase yourself, network with others in your field, and research companies and potential coworkers.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I've used LinkedIn quite a bit. Not to find work, but to connect with people about work. Old colleagues, cohorts from school, people I kind of knew, and whose work could help me but who I needed an excuse to connect with. I have done all this through LinkedIn. I don't check it every day or anything, but it has been helpful.

    I have also used Facebook to connect with work-related people, but mainly because it was the only way I knew how to reach them. And it was all people with whom I was already friends - nothing that would jeopardize my professional patina.

    In Albuquerque we also have a local social networking site that I have used to find specific things to great success. Stuff like goat manure for our community garden. Also, its a great way to promote local events that we organize. I have used Facebook for this as well.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  19. #19
    I've found LinkedIn to be useful for knowing what my colleagues are up to in the world of planning. Other than that, it's pointless other than serving as an expanded resume.

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