My social networking (for business and pleasure)

I talked to my SEB program advisor the other day and mentioned that I try to attend one networking event a week, and not more than that (otherwise, I would have no time for the actual work). She was pleasantly surprised that I manage to find so many networking events while some other people just have no idea where to go and how to start. In fact, once you have a social network established and use the proper tools, the information starts coming from all directions.

All the further stuff is trivial for a digiterati, so, if you heard of Twitter or know what a RSS is, don’t bother to read on. However, today I got another reminder of the digital gap: a classmate in YorkU proudly mentioned she was going to a workshop where they will teach her to use comments in Microsoft Word and other advanced stuff. So, I suppose, these notes could be of use to someone.

I already noticed that people who need to create a network of contacts often don’t have a clue where to start. So I made this list of my facebook and meetup groups for my business advisor. I thought it might be helpful to other people too.

Please note that many of these groups (but not all) are related to IT and/or social media. If you are in another industry, you would probably benefit from getting more contacts in your own areas and following what these people do.

Some of these groups charge for the meetings, but most are affordable or free. Once you join these groups, they will start sending you invitations. (To join a group, follow “Join this group” link on the right side of the screen. In some cases you also have to follow through the group page to some other website outside Facebook and register there.)

I also found that volunteering is a great way of finding new people and contacts, as well as getting admission to the events that otherwise are prohibitively expensive (for example, I am going to volunteer at a social media conference, i.e. getting free access to it, that otherwise would cost me about $700).

To follow the links, you have to be registered at http://www.meetup.com and http://www.facebook.com respectively.

I also strongly recommend http://www.linkedin.com as a tool for creating and maintaining a network of business and professional contacts.

Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to upload a list of contacts from your e-mail (Hotmail, Google, Yahoo etc.) to see if any of the people you know are already on these networks.

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