Social networks are used in many different ways. Companies use them to spread the word about their latest product or connect with their customers, individuals often use them to catch up with friends and family, and many use them to keep up with what’s going on in the world and their own social circles. While these networks appear clogged with jokes and party photos, there are a few things you can do to make your time on them more productive. Here are a few tips on how to use social networks productively:
Top secret projects aside, social networks are a great way to hash out ideas with colleagues and friends. If you’ve come up with a concept or an idea that needs further input to be validated or reconsidered, presenting an elevator pitch to members of your social circle is a great way to get the input you need without having to make the imposing phone call or visit to them to ask their advice. Typically, people will be more inclined to give their input on their own time, and having it in a place they frequent in a passive capacity can be more encouraging. If you’re planning a party or trip, putting up a thought or two about it and asking opinions can help you figure out the best course of action.
Another way to leverage social networks is through crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is a lot like brainstorming, except used in a public capacity for the purpose of building material for something of interest to the crowd. For example, a blogger might crowdsource information or opinions for an upcoming blog post. People who participate are often given credit in the post and become an active part of the writing process. Broadcasters often crowdsource to find answers for a caller or guest to a question they themselves don’t have the best answer for offhand.
When something happens, and you need to tell a wide group of people in a hurry, there is really no alternative to social networks. Having to work your way up a phone tree can be a difficult experience, especially if the news you need to spread is saddening or difficult to convey in a vocal setting. This may not be the best option for telling your parents that you’re getting married or having a baby, but it would work fine for all your friends and extended family you rarely get in touch with other than online.
Sites like LinkedIn and various groups available through other networks can actually help you land a job and build a career through professional contacts you make through your online activity. For example, you can put your resume on LinkedIn and that becomes a topic of conversation on the network. Head hunters and hiring managers frequently seek out someone with the background and drive to fill a specific position and, depending on your connections and recommendations, your profile could be the key to landing that dream job.
Sharing photos of various parties you attend, telling jokes, and passing on animated GIFs are one side of social networks that make them fun and enjoyable to the vast majority of their users. There are, however, some remarkably productive things you can do to make your online experience more worthwhile in the long term.