You may want to think again. Social networking, and especially Twitter, can be a powerful career tool if used correctly.
First, a brief comment about two other popular social networking sites:
LinkedIn was launched in 2003 and now has 85 million users. It is primarily a professional site where people set up a profile that resembles a resume. This is not a “fun” site…it is used for professional connections. You can connect with individuals and you can also join various professional groups. Everyone should have a presence on LinkedIn.
Facebook has 500 million users…that’s 1 in every 13 people on earth. 40% of Facebook users are between the ages of 18 and 34. Launched in 2004, Facebook is more social…you’ll see people sharing pictures and life events, as well as adding items to their farms.
Both LinkedIn and Facebook are reciprocal…in other words, you cannot connect with someone unless they accept your invitation…and vice versa..
In contrast, Twitter launched in 2006. At 175 million members, it is the fasting growing, most popular and successful social networking site.
Twitter is easily accessible. Posts (called Tweets) are short (140 characters) and to the point.
You can “follow” people on Twitter without their permission. Of course, there will be more interaction if they “follow” you back. However, you can learn a lot just by following someone so don’t let this stop you. And this one street but can turn into a relationship that leads to learning and other connections.If Twitter is used well, here’s what’s available to you:
* Global networking and interaction with paralegals, attorneys and other legal professionals. These are connections you would have no idea existed except for Twitter. They can be very helpful for your career development
* Inside Information about law firms and corporations
* Access to cutting-edge knowledge and resources; sources of information that will help you keep your skills current
* The ability to establish your credibility and marketability
* 24/7 real-time stream of information from a globally diverse population
* Information about your specialty area
* Looking for a job? You may access the hidden job market and locate open positions that are not advertised; remember, employers are using social media to find and explore talent; you may connect with hiring managers, decision makers, recruiters and influencers; you’ll also have the ability to research companies to increase your credibility at an interview.
* Blog posts, articles and events that are important to your career development
How do you start? Set up your profile. Include your picture…no one wants to look at an avatar and lack of a picture does nothing to forge the relationships you’re looking for. Be sure you’re truthful.
Choose connections carefully and then, like joining any group, watch and listen. Monitor and observe Twitter sites that are of career or personal interest to see what the conversation is like.
What do you Tweet about? Events, conferences, trends, recent accomplishments, books you’re reading, helpful resources, interesting articles. The list is endless. Just be sure you’re contributing meaningful conversation.
Stay out of overwhelm. Twitter does not and should not take all your time and energy. Choosing three primary themes such as “paralegal” “career management” and “marketing” or whatever you’re interested in. Keeping to three areas will help you stay focused and not get sidetracked.
Don’t hesitate another minute: get started on your Twitter profile right now and start reaping the benefits of your Twitter interaction. Be patient and invest the time you need. Ask good questions, make connections. It will pay off in the form of a larger network of colleagues and friends, as well as a broader knowledge about your professional interests.
©2011 Vicki Voisin, Inc. Do you want to use this article in your newsletter, ezine or Web site? You can so long as you include this entire blurb with it:
Vicki Voisin, “The Paralegal Mentor”, delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by achieving goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She publishes a weekly ezine titled Paralegal Strategies and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network. More information is available at http://www.paralegalmentor.com/.