Friday, January 27, 2012

Key Networking Feature: Sharing


Networking is about creating best friends forever who will advocate for you.  Let’s revisit some aspects of your friendship and see why that works great for both.   Let’s assume you have a fictitious best friend named Chris.  Now you receive a gold medal in 400 meters running race and call Chris immediately “to share your happiest moment”.  You just shared a part of your life and made Chris a part of your life.  Chris now feels important.  You are not feeling well and you need help and you call Chris.  Chris shows up and helps you out.  In return you always stand by him whenever he needs you.  You are always connected with Chris through email, phone, and home address and hang out together.  Whenever you are happy, sad, enlightened, or whatever you feel like sharing with Chris. 

Now hold that thought for a second and ask this question to yourself, have you ever felt this way with some of your professional friends?  Have you shared anything with them that you felt was great? Do you happen to keep everything personal because you believe that personal and professional lives should not cross lines?  Or have you met a person who does that?  If you don’t share then you might feel isolated from your professional network and also feel that you don’t get the most out of your network.  Sharing does not always have to be something very personal but how about sharing some nice article with them which you liked?  How about sharing a nice job posting you saw and thought that this might be helpful to somebody?  Why not share a business opportunity with your network?   We underestimate the power of sharing.  Imagine how the world would be where nobody talked to each other and nobody shared information with anybody.  Scary right! The more you share the more better you will be in making better networked friends.  And the better the network we will be more informed and the world will be a better place to live. 

In sharing there is one factor that you have to consider is the kind of information you are share on the kind of the network.  It is about knowing the nature of your network, communities, and friends.  Different communities and networks behave differently online and differently offline.  Communities on Google+ are different than Facebook.  People participating on Reddit and other forums will be different.  Obviously nothing can match one and one personal communications.  Sharing gradually builds your identity over a time.  Even if you don’t get a single “Like” or a single comment on your shared item, people notice what you share.  I did a review for a paper I had to write and in that I had to collect responses about me from people close to me other than relatives.  I was amazed by what people told me about me.  One interesting comment I got was that I was too guarded and was secretive. I was surprised.  People do notice what you share and do not share offline and online.  And they form opinions about it.   It is important that you keep doing what you like and what reflects you because that will stay with you for longer time. 

If you are on a job market then ask for help from your entire network. Now when you get a job then inform them that you have got the job. Building a strong network is very tough.  And I am not good at it but learning.  Don’t share because others are doing and you have to.  Share because it’s natural to you and you want to.  Don't stop because you don't get feedback on it.  Share because many people will see still if not bother to comment.  There are hundreds of stories we see online and on how many of those do we comment.  It is just like that.