I must confess I am a recent convert to this important and increasingly essential mode of interaction. I resisted the lure for quite awhile but soon came to the conclusion that participation in various sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, are not only advisable but necessary.
Here’s why. Nearly everyone out there is sold on the concept that you have to be on these sites in order to conduct business. There’s an old adage which states “perception is reality.” In other words, if you think it’s true...it IS true, at least to a certain degree.
So, is social networking the one and only viable path toward career success? Of course not, but it can be an important and essential tool.
There are a multitude of individuals utilizing the social networking sites these days; so many people, as a matter of fact, that some of these sites have crashed under the ever burgeoning weight of users. Here are the actual statistics for Facebook according to its “Press Room:”
• More than 400 million active users
• 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
• More than 35 million users update their status each day
• More than 60 million status updates posted each day
• More than 3 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
• More than 5 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each week
• More than 3.5 million events created each month
• More than 3 million active Pages on Facebook
• More than 1.5 million local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
• More than 20 million people become fans of Pages each day
• Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans
That’s a lot of activity on a daily basis which translates to valuable exposure for the job seeker. Recently a friend of mine told me about an acquaintance who posted his resume and request for employment on his Facebook page. Within a matter of hours, he was flooded with job leads, referrals, and even offers! Incidentally, he is now employed by a company he found through a recruiter on Facebook who happened to see his resume and job query on a mutual friend’s page.
Twitter, on the other hand, is a completely different medium. Characterized by short phrases and comments (Twitter only allows up to 140 characters per post), it is considered by many as a more concise method of communication. The postings are called “tweets” and individuals often follow others’ tweets and comment accordingly. Although not an easy medium to master, most indicators point to the fact that it is important to do so. Statistics are varied and surprisingly difficult to find; I was unable to locate user information on the Twitter site. The bottom line, however, is enough people are utilizing it to make it worth your time and effort. It’s free and easy to sign up.
LinkedIn is considered to be more of a business networking site than either Facebook or Twitter (although the Twitter site begs to differ). Once again, it’s a matter of perception, and most LinkedIn users are far more business oriented than the average Facebook user. Many people use LinkedIn exclusively for business purposes and Facebook for social connections. Twitter seems to straddle both elements. As with Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is free and relatively easy to use. My personal opinion is that Facebook is the most user friendly of the big three sites, but with a bit of practice (and patience), you should be up and running on all of these sites in a relatively short period of time. LinkedIn stats are available on its site, albeit, the information is not as extensive as Facebook. According to the site, over 60 million users, globally, are now members of the network spanning 200 countries and seven continents. If the majority of users in the U.S. utilize this site for business purposes, the reason for your participation becomes clear.
Here’s what I tell my clients and students. Use every method available; take every possible path; tell everyone you know, including virtual strangers, that you are looking for a job. Go ahead and shout it from the rooftops…figuratively speaking. In 2009, Atlanta Facebook users surged to #2 in the United States. Taking these numbers into consideration, we can extrapolate that a similar number of folks in Atlanta are taking advantage of Twitter and LinkedIn, as well.
As much as I personally detest a “bandwagon” mentality, every once in a while you just need to join the crowd. At the end of the day, the reality is that if you are not on the social media sites, you’re missing out on potential opportunities.
For additional assistance with your job search, please visit Meral's website here.