As Jasmijn de Baan explained this week, the work market is a dogfight. As such, you must be as prepared as possible, always finding ways to make yourself stand out from the competition. Today, being able to throw around a few clicks to get others engaged is as valuable as gold, and one must not fall behind on the trends. Social media may just be the push you need to look like a safe bet on a casino night. And though these tools are not as useful for some jobs as they are for others, knowing the basics can also be a way to improve how you manage your internet persona and, just maybe, turn out to be nice conversation ice breaker in an elevator or a party because, like it or not, we’re all Barbie girls in a digital world.
Given that I’m a nicer person than a new-born puppy, I organized a little guide to the social networks that are trending and that you should be mastering – or at least be aware of them. You’re welcome, future employed you.
LinkedIn is the number one social network to master if you wanna use the web to find a job. If you’re graduating and you still don’t have a LinkedIn account, get to it! The website allows you to create an online CV that is inserted into a professional network. Could it get any easier to step into the job market?
Once you create an account, you fill the profile in with information about your education, work experience, competences and areas of interest. Then, you connect to your already known contacts: people from school, co-workers, people within your profession, etc. As you go, your contact list will increase, as well as your visibility for future employers.
It is remarkably useful to keep you informed on what your peers are up to, to ease networking within your are of expertise, to get you recommended to contacts, to find contacts from people and companies, besides also allowing to find information on the work environment of specific companies.
About.me is, as the Wikipedia describes it, “a personal web hosting service”. And what the hell does that mean? Well, it basically offers the possibility of having a platform to link several profiles from social media such as Facebook, Flickr, Google+, LinkedIn, etc, organizing your online persona in one website.
Each page can be structured differently, though all of them include a background picture and a brief biography/description of the user. It can be customized, making your page more fitting to your taste and to the purpose you want to give to your profile.
Instead of using it as a personal page, you can turn it into an online CV, selling yourself in a more visually impacting way. About.me is strong in engaging the visitors of the page in a more friendly fashion, which can be useful in getting people to read your professional experience. Besides that, About.me can be quite relevant in creating a network of contacts, allowing you to establish a connection with potential clients, employers and peers.
3. Pinterest and Instagram
Though not the same thing, both these social media networks are pretty much based on images. Pinterest allows you to collect and organize things you appreciate, by putting them in ‘boards’, displayed in categories. This creates a network and people will be directed to your board by looking up the keyword you’ve pinned. Instagram, on the other hand, is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service. It enables users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networks.
Though they don’t seem like a big assistance for the professional world, you may just be wrong there. With both these websites, the hashtag principle helps create a large network of contacts that share the same likes as you, and both have such a big number of users that it is rather easy to find those interesting to you in a professional sense.
If you work as a chef, a designer, a constructor or anything that can be publicized through images, these social networks may be quite the platform to show your work and get people to know your strengths.
RebelMouse organizes the online presence into a “beautiful, dynamic” and social site, making it what is called a “social media aggregator”. It works on the basis that “people are getting very good at Twitter and Facebook, but they are embarrassed about their personal websites”. So what does it do then? Basically, RebelMouse generates a page that pulls all the photos, text and links from your social media sites together. You get the updates, the messages, the tweets and retweets, all in a page – and a page that looks pretty because it mainly focuses on the images. But you can arrange the page as you like, pinning the best work in the center, rearranging or removing items, and expanding on Twitter’s 140 characters with more thought. So far, it only allows you to connect Facebook and Twitter, but more social streams like Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest will be added down the line.
And what can it do for you? Well, basically it allows you to build a social-first blog without spending on developers and designers and losing hours on your own efforts, also helping organize all the social networks you’re connected to. It may help you sell yourself on the social media world. In professional terms, it allows the company to enhance its social footprint and highlight social media content on their sites, also allowing to put together many forms of information that are easily filtered with hashtags.
It’s a tool that allows you to build digital stories. What? Well, you collect information about the same topic from different sources (social media websites, blogs, newspapers, etc), then gather all these individual elements in the same page, thus building a story.
Mediabistro.com praises Storify, arguing it “is one of the best tools out there to curate content, and has been used to cover everything from the Occupy movements to breaking news on the shooting at Virginia Tech.” Storify brands itself by saying they “are building a new information network that will give you the social perspective on any event.” In cases of information overload, you can always find a Storify board that chronicles the succession of events, such as this one regarding the Alec Baldwin-American Airlines situation.
This tool is also excellent to build a network of contacts, since the hashtags make it easy to find users with similar topic preferences to yours. Moreover, it’s very common to find niche topics on Storify, making also a good tool to find sources of information that is not that mainstream.
Journalists love Storify for the clear and logical manner they can use it to tell a story. If you’re not a journalist, it can be used to chronicle and publicize the evolution of a specific research, for instance, or update clients on the development of a new product.
And so, in conclusion, what can you take from this little summary? That there are plenty of easily manageable social media networks that are built to make your life easier, as long as you’re willing to pour your life’s story, hopes and dreams online. It also teaches us that the internet is here to, somehow, help you get money and become an adult, not just for memes or cheap porn. Enjoy, kids.
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