Social Online Networking 101

There are hundreds of online social networking sites, so where in the world do you start?

It was by pure accident that I got onto the granddaddy of them all, LinkedIn, in September/October of 2007. A friend said, “Hey, there’s this networking site called LinkedIn I think you should check into.” They said something about it being a professional networking site. They sent me an invitation and I accepted, but it felt oh-so-foreign.

I do, however, remember signing up — well, sort of I do — and then leaving it alone for the next several months. I was thinking “yeah, whatever” at the time.

Time passed and it was February of 2008 before I checked the site again. That is a very common thing, I’ve found. People sign up and then drift off. In February, I worked on my profile and also realized it has a Q&A forum. Some people are on LinkedIn longer before they realize that forum exists and some NEVER find it. It points to how nice it is to have a little help in navigating these sites. It would speed things up.

My first question on the Q&A was very narrow in scope and got few responses. It pointed to “how lame” the site was — or so I thought. Curious, I decided to give it another shot and asked a second question. This time I got over 100 answers in a few days’ time. What? How could that be? I wasn’t even known on the site … and these people saw my question asking about “one of your all-time favorite books.” While I can’t find the link to the 2008 question, I repeated it in 2009, which you can see here. There were 176 answers to this question the second year. It was so successful in attracting answers that I’ve now asked it each February (three of them now). It has become “my annual question.”

Judging from the answers coming from many locations in the U.S. and other countries, my curiosity grew. I’m one who has always loved diversity and meeting people from other places. LinkedIn appeared to be a doorway to learning about the world.

Let’s start there. LinkedIn’s underlying premise is about business, so it’s the place you should be if you plan to DO business. Social online networking has grown so quickly that it CAN be completely overwhelming. It’s amazing how many folks are now assisting others in getting set up and/or even managing their online presence.

In fact, those with an entrepreneurial spirit and good understanding of online networking have found full-time work in helping others in this regard. My job as a Relocation Director and owner of Moving Links 4 You means being in touch with people from many places all the time. It is one industry (out of a gazillion) that needs to be online. It’s opened many doors.

I am aware that many in the Baby Boomer age group (my age group) need some help in understanding this world. I have been in this world solidly for two years now and it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to write a few pieces for A News Café about the sites I use and become a sort of resource person in my community regarding online networking. Stay tuned for the individual articles about: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the clever site called XeeSM which houses all your URLs under one umbrella, which simplifies a lot!

Confused? I invite you to stay tuned right here for the posts yet to come about the online social networking sites. I’d love to be a resource for you and invite your questions.

Mary Lascelles (aka ReloMary) is with Moving Links 4 You Concierge Relocation Services — Assembling your Selling, Buying, Moving Team. You may reach her by calling 530.515.6299.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Stella says:

    Looking forward to learning more from you about these sites.

  2. Avatar Christian Bergenstra says:

    Great post – and a great idea to write A News Café about the different sites. I will definitly use your information and spread it in my network…. Thanks!

    /Christian (Xeesm.com/bergenstrahle)

  3. Avatar Daniel Carey says:

    You have hit the nail square on the head with this. My experience with Linked In was very similar. I first joined LI late 2005, early 2006; but did nothing with it for just about a year. But once I hooked into it, it has grown.

    Of my current 400+ contacts, about half are from my general area of the country; but the other half are from all over the place. Places like California, Idaho, Virginia, Florida, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Canada, Mexico, UK, India, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Peru, Ireland, and the list goes on and on.

    You are one of my strongest connections, and yet, we have never met in person.

    Cheers and great article. I cant' wait to read more.

    Dan

  4. Avatar Cyndy Gordon says:

    I am waiting with baited breath for the next article nice job!

  5. Avatar Mary Lascelles says:

    Thanks! This will be fun to gather my thoughts about it all and put something down "on paper" as a starting place. I'm always here for questions. If I don't know, I likely know someone who DOES know the answer… I've made so many amazing connections all over the planet through social networking. It's made the world a smaller place which is something I really love.

  6. Avatar Bob Flenner says:

    Great post Mary. The online networking world is an interesting place, but it is also hard to navigate through but worth it for the people you meet and the opinions and experience you can gain from others around the world. It has enriched my life…especially because of the people I've met. Looking forward to reading more of your posts, dear lady.

  7. Avatar Simon Hamer says:

    Seems a bit strange posting on April Fools day, but I'm at Mum's this afternoon so I thought I should respond, especially as it is you Mary. You retain peoples affections wherever you network.

    Linkedin first, like you, I found Linkedin in 2007, but quickly lost interest.
    Then I was forced to occupy my time in 2008, and after exhausting looking for friends, I too found Questions and Answers. If you want to hear from opinionated people, you will surely get to hear from them here. I ran a question on the recession when it had started and many were still in denial….. only to have the USA national statistics tell them retrospectively …… they were, at least "uninformed".

    You should all try Xeesm out, and Mary sent me the link through twitter for this, very easy to get a message out to your close social allies, they look for your mentions and respond.

    Well said Mary, you're a credit to social media, keep up the great blogs.
    As ever, Simon
    The Visibility Extremist

  8. Avatar Stan says:

    Mary as always you inform, entertain and let your personality show through. Great start on the series.

    Looking forward to your tips on usage of these social media sites.

    Stan (www.maturitymaters.net)

  9. Avatar Susie says:

    Excellent idea! You have always been a great resource for such things.

  10. Avatar Axel says:

    Good to see you so engaged in the social web. It's very important that early adopters share their experience. Also thanks for mentioning Xeesm.
    Happy to contribute anyway I can.

    Axel
    http://xeesm.com/AxelS

  1. March 31, 2010

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by mrreplay: Replay OK Social Online Networking 101: Food For Thought, A News Cafe
    By Mary Lascelles (aka ReloMary) March 31, 2… http://bit.ly/acTnJB