Unless you’ve had you’ve been on a very long holiday, you might of noticed an increasing amount of media coverage devoted to social networking websites such as Facebook, Myspace, & LinkedIn.
Whilst it’s tempting for the sceptical ones among us to dismiss this media coverage as hype, I really believe that social networking websites are here to stay. If this is true, this poses a number of very real opportunities and threats to alumni associations and their teams.
Like you, I have a social network made up of family, friends, colleagues, and other connections. This social network is an integral part of my life that helps me do things like find new jobs, friends etc… University alumni are no different from you or I.
In the real world, a social network is only as useful and valuable as the people and connections that you are aware of within it. Even between myself and good friends, the dissemination of this information is slow and often incomplete.
So how have social networking websites changed this?
Social Networking websites enable members to make friendship connections between family, friends, and colleagues public.
When you become a ‘friend’ of another member, they become a part of your network, and you become a members of theirs. This connection enables you to see who your friend knows, and who their friends friends know.
So what does this mean?
You are no longer a stranger to a much wider community of people and are able to see connections that would otherwise remain hidden. You can use these connections for what ever reason you chose. This is the essence of social networking.