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Networking on the Web, or How to catch your "Goldfish"?

Do not want to get into trouble when you meet or look for a job on the Internet? Take our Best Communication Techniques and Best Self-Education Techniques programs . And here " The best techniques of self-education ", if we are talking about acquaintance and communication? In a country where they take microcredits, heed the promises of a better life and believe everything they hear on TV and read on social networks, self-education will remain an urgent task for a long time to come.


Our topic today is networking on the Web. To begin with, let's reveal the concept of "networking" - what it is in simple words. And let's clarify the double understanding of the term "network".


Firstly, the term " networking " is made up of the English words net (network) and work (work), which together means "to develop or create a network of useful connections." You can create a network of useful connections or acquaintances in a variety of ways.


Secondly, the word "Network", used with a capital letter, is synonymous with the word "Internet". Thus, in this case, we will talk about networking or the development of connections on the Internet that are useful for solving your problems. And before we start talking about effective networking and networking skills, let's make a short historical digression.


From the history of the issue

Once upon a time, at the dawn of Internet technologies, when a computer and access to the Network were far from in every home and office, and there were no social networks at all, it was fashionable fun for the lucky ones who had a computer and the Internet to put a photo on their profile picture then still young Angelina Jolie. This significantly increased the chances of success on the then few, but very flourishing dating sites. The image search service appeared much later, and there were not so many moviegoers who reviewed all the films with the participation of Jolie and were able to identify her in the photo.


No less successful among those wishing to embellish their image for a virtual acquaintance was Pamela Anderson, also then a young diva. Her real and virtual success came after her photo appeared in Playboy magazine in 1990. By the way, the filmography of Pamela Anderson starts in 1991, i.е. after debuting in Playboy. So those who like to hide behind other people's photos had several years until the popularity of Pamela Anderson, Playboy magazine and the possibilities of the Web will overcome all boundaries and become available to the mass user in the post-Soviet space.


Plus 10 years of age and plus 10 kilograms of live weight relative to what is visible in the photo in the case when the acquaintance grew from virtual to real was usually explained by the passage of cruel time. Or the cruel passage of time, depending on the girl's fantasy. How to explain the color of the eyes that does not match the photo, there was usually not enough imagination, because decorative contact lenses also appeared much later. However, this usually did not interfere with the continuation of the acquaintance.


By the way, pictures of famous actresses instead of their own were put on the avatar not only by girls, but also by guys. The guys are mostly for fun, so there were a lot of situations when, inspired by an acquaintance, a “pale young man with burning eyes” poured out his emotions to the same young man, but hiding behind a photograph of Angelina Jolie, there were a great many. This is how it was, networking on the Web in the early days of the Internet.


What has changed now, besides the fact that Angelina Jolie and Pamela Anderson have become famous, recognizable and no longer in demand for those who want to make themselves a beautiful avatar? Let's see!


General principles of networking

We made such an extensive digression into history solely in order to convey a simple idea: you must clearly understand why you need networking, whether you are going to do it online or offline. To understand as clearly and distinctly as they understand what they need, guys who are looking for acquaintances with girls who are ready for a very specific relationship. Or at least in the way that girls are clearly and purposefully looking for the “prince on a white horse”. Although they cannot always answer why they need a prince and where they intend to put the horse, but the girls do not doubt that they need a prince.


If you traditionally sympathize with fairy-tale characters who live in the deep forest and are potentially ready to kill anyone who dares to disturb their peace, and somewhere deep down you would like to live like Robinson Crusoe, only with complete comfort and without Friday, perhaps networking is for you will be too burdensome.


Another definition of networking says that it is a social and professional activity aimed at forming a circle of friends and acquaintances who work or have connections in a particular area, in order to solve complex life problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.


What are your current life challenges? Earn more, achieve a higher social status, buy a house, make repairs, something else? Or, perhaps, not the most difficult, but still requiring a solution? One way or another, networking can be an important step towards a big goal .


With the right contacts, you can enter the circles where decisions are made, whether it's choosing a contractor for a job or moving someone up the corporate ladder. Good people can help you find a job that pays more for your skills than your current job.


And you can also be introduced to reliable realtors who definitely will not “throw” with the purchase and sale of an apartment and will quickly complete all the paperwork. You can’t even talk about repairs at all: what they do for “their own” for a bottle of vodka, in the “husband for an hour” service, can cost wild money.


If you don’t have and are not expected to have particularly difficult tasks, you are used to go with the flow, enjoying every moment of life as it is, and consider self-knowledge and introspection an occupation either for idlers, or for people who are not quite mentally healthy, then ... Then you hardly need networking at this stage of your life path, because in networking you will have to think and analyze a lot.


In order to make it clearer what we are talking about, we recommend that you at least look at the book published by Elena Vavilova and Andrey Bezrukov “Networking for intelligence officers. How to benefit from any acquaintance” [ E. Vavilova, A. Bezrukov, 2021 ].


Let's start with the fact that the book "Networking for intelligence officers" was written by the authors based on their personal experience as people who were engaged in intelligence activities "undercover". How deeply you can trust people who have worked in intelligence all their lives, everyone decides for himself, but there are certainly interesting thoughts there.


For those who are interested, we will immediately say that today you can download this book about networking for free at the link . There is also an audio version of this book about networking, which you can buy on a special website . A free trial fragment is also available for listening.


So, the authors advise you to start networking by compiling, no more, no less, a real “map of your social connections”. This is in order to see your place among people, so to speak, "from a bird's eye view" [ E. Vavilova, A. Bezrukov, 2021 ].


The book details how to do this. In short, you need to systematize and visualize on a regular sheet of paper all your social contacts that you have at work, study, hobbies, communication with relatives, etc.


From the first attempt, almost no one gets a clear picture, and this serves as additional evidence that networking is more work than leisure and entertainment. Approximately such "schematic construction" is recommended by the authors to search for people and opportunities to solve problems that are relevant to you. For example, the authors showed how networking can help achieve such a goal as losing weight:


Naturally, this is a conditional example, and you can find your way to an ideal figure by taking up, for example, not tennis, but boxing, and not trips to nature, but playing paintball on the weekends. The bottom line is that networking is useful, in any case. By building a social network, you can find a good boxing coach and paintball partners.


Similarly, you can write tasks for any other areas of life, and think about who could help you solve them and how to look for such people. It would even be more accurate to ask: who do you need to look for? The authors of Networking for Scouts identify three types of people who can potentially help:


  • "Connectors"
  • "Capacitors"
  • "Bridges"

"Connectors" are people who are constantly in the spotlight and the "soul of the company", to whom other people are drawn, thanks to which the "connectors" have a wide circle of acquaintances. Communicating with them, you can get to know their acquaintances, including persons whom you personally do not have the opportunity to get to know [ E. Vavilova, A. Bezrukov, 2021 ].


"Capacitors" are people who accumulate a lot of useful information, information, contacts, acquaintances, including, as they say, "just in case." They are often approached for advice and they can often really help and advise something sensible. And you, too, if you can interest them in your communication [ E. Vavilova, A. Bezrukov, 2021 ].


“Bridges” are people who, perhaps, decide little on their own, but they have access to the right people. A classic example is the secretary or assistant to the head of a large organization. The secretary, of course, does not solve the issues of signing the contract, but he can meet you halfway and call you back when the boss is in place and in a good mood. Therefore, “building bridges” can also be very useful for solving your problems [ E. Vavilova, A. Bezrukov, 2021 ].


However, just making the right contact is not enough, it still needs to be maintained. You, too, should be something interesting to "connectors", "capacitors" and "bridges". And, if the manager's secretary can, as an option, be interested financially, then for "connectors" and "capacitors" you need to become an interesting person. To do this, it is important to constantly develop and subtly feel the needs of people around you.


The authors of the book "Networking for Scouts" identify several main problems that people face on the way to effective networking:


  • Lack of a clear goal and networking strategy.
  • Low rate of acquisition of new contacts.
  • "Marking time" in the development of relationships.
  • Mistakes in relationships and the inability to correct mistakes in relationships.

Overcoming these problems also requires separate efforts. In other words, networking is useful when it is done consciously. Of course, just communication and just making new acquaintances where the craving for adventure in your “second 90” (from the 90-60-90 formula) has brought you is also not bad. But it's not exactly networking.


Networking is not just the ability to easily “converge” with people and keep up a conversation on any topic. And not just a craving for "hanging out" and communication. This is a targeted search for people who are able to help solve current problems or problems that will arise in the near future.


We specifically specify about the “near future”, because in our rapidly changing world it is hardly worth specifically looking for people and contacts to solve problems that will either arise or not, and if they arise, it will not be soon and it is not known whether they will be found. people in the same places as now.


Of course, if communication is “your everything”, then why not maintain a relationship with a person who can potentially be of some use someday? However, for people who are not very sociable, simply "maintaining relationships" is often far from easy. And, you see, it will look “not very good” if you suddenly stop communicating with a person who has lost his current status. And just people who are not too sociable can be helped out by networking on the Web.


Features of networking on the web

Today, when literally everything has moved online and on social networks, from sales to personnel search, from offering freight carrier services to advertising dental clinics, you can also find anything and anyone on online and social networks.


On the Web, any of the previously listed actions is easier. The search for "connectors" and "capacitors" is facilitated by the numbers of subscribers and the number of likes under their posts. The first step to dating is simplified to writing a message.


Asking a question online is easier than going somewhere and asking an administrator or manager on the spot about something. And you can make a useful acquaintance in advance, knowing that after 3 months you will need to move, and not look for a car at the last moment and pay exorbitant prices.


Maintaining contact is also not as energy-consuming as in live communication. It is enough to regularly “like” the feed of the right person and repost his most fateful messages in order to remain, as they say, “in sight”.


And if you can comment on his posts on the matter or recommend, also online, a specialist of the desired profile from among your acquaintances who are looking for work, you will do a doubly useful thing: for your friend, and for the “right” person, and for yourself in perspective.


Today, you can find a lot of networking tips on the Internet. For example, in the article “Networking in social networks. The path of an introvert” [ A. Derbasova, 2016 ]. This is, consider, a detailed manual on what to do for people who are afraid to get acquainted, make friends and useful connections. Here are tips from the author , which she personally tested on Facebook:


  • Write a welcome message to everyone who wants to be added to you as a friend, if you, in principle, are not against this friendship. Tell us briefly about yourself or provide a link to a post where you talk about yourself.
  • Keep in touch with those who are your friends on social networks. For example, sometimes ask how they are doing in a private message or comment on their posts if they are active in the "feed".
  • If you're selling something, don't try to sell on first contact.
  • If there is an opportunity to be useful to a new or old acquaintance, to be useful to a new or old acquaintance.
  • Always remember that networking is work for the future, but it's worth it.

These were working recommendations for Facebook, and now let's see what the creator of the LinkAdd service advises in his article “Why do networking and how to do it effectively through Linkedin” [ D. Lisakovsky, 2020 ]. The tips are focused on Linkedin, although they are suitable for any other social network:


  • Think about the design of your profile.
  • Clearly, clearly and concisely state what you do (I develop, teach, teach).
  • Use a business-style photo on a neutral background.
  • Smile, because the more expensive your service, the wider the smile should be.
  • Create expert content for your page.
  • Show relevant and relevant activity in the profiles of other users.
  • Give compliments and wish happy birthday.
  • Give first, then take.

The last point is often misunderstood. Many people think that giving is immediately starting to offer your services if you are networking on the Web for some business purpose. Essentially, this is called "taking": time, attention, trying to impose their services and take money. At a minimum, you need to wait for someone to publicize their need for your or a similar service to you. And it’s better not to trifle and study the needs and “pains” of your potential “connectors” and “capacitors”, and help, if possible, right now, and not necessarily with something from the list of services you sell.


However, no one cancels sales on the Web, you just don’t need to start with this. How then to start? Perhaps the article “Networking: how 100 Internet friends can bring 10 $ ” and even much more will help you [ N. Kopylova, 2021 ]. Here are some tips from the author:


  • To help.
  • To be active.
  • Be yourself.
  • Be cool.
  • Do not strictly separate online and offline.

This is how we smoothly returned to where we started: networking has general principles and patterns, regardless of whether networking is online or offline. In any case, a variety of contacts increases your social and career mobility and contributes to the formation of useful life experiences.

Experts identify a number of undoubted advantages for those who pay focused attention and make efforts to meaningful networking [ A. Babushkin, 2020 ].

What networking gives:

  • Meeting new people.
  • Communication skills.
  • Improvement of oral colloquial speech if networking takes place offline.
  • Improving written language if networking happens online.
  • Expanding horizons.
  • Increased self-esteem and life satisfaction.
  • The ability to quickly solve your problems.
  • The ability to feel needed when you help others solve their problems.
How to hone your networking skills if the need for it exists, but all of the above seems difficult? To begin with, it is worth studying the general rules suitable for online and offline. They are quite sensibly set out in the article “Networking, or How to Make Useful Acquaintances” [ N. Katkov, 2021 ]. These are the general rules:

  • Create a positive aura around you.
  • To be in a good mood.
  • Don't be intrusive.
  • Do not try to resolve all issues at the first meeting, unless the meeting was scheduled in advance for the purpose of resolving a specific issue.
  • Learn to briefly talk about yourself so that it is clear what you do and how you can be useful to the interlocutor.
  • Take business cards with you to offline meetings, have a page or block of information about yourself on social networks, to which you can always give a link.
  • Learn to ask interesting questions that will be interesting for the interlocutor to give detailed answers.
There are also special recommendations from experts, “How to develop online networking” [ A. Babushkin, 2020 ]. Here are the rules for networking on the web:

  • Choose a social network where you are more likely to find the people you need.
  • Be proactive.
  • Strengthen your social media positioning.
  • Write a blog, personal or professional.
  • Launch a newsletter that is potentially interesting to your target audience.
  • Join online communities where the people you need are potentially located.
  • Participate in online events.
  • Build long-term relationships.
More specific technical and tactical recommendations can be found in the article “Networking from home: how to develop connections in isolation” [ A. Polyakova, 2020 ]. Here recommendations are more on the topic of maintaining existing relationships. There is no need to blindly copy them all, but there is definitely something suitable for you and your personal social network in the recommendations. Let's say a joint virtual tea party or a video conference on a topic that several of your friends are equally interested in.

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