Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Linkedin; A Professional Network, not a Social Network

There are a variety of online networks to connect people for various purposes. When joining one of these networks, we should know what is it's purpose. Is it appropriate to post our favourite quotes and funny pictures on this network or not? Is it okay to message others for personal purposes? 

There is a huge difference between social networks and professional networks. A social network is used to stay in touch with family and friends and share photos,news and such, while a professional network is used to get in touch with other professionals,post your work experiences, and look for prospective job opportunities, or to be discovered by employers.

The two professional networks I use are Linkedin and Bayt.com. The first is international, the second is specialised in jobs in Arab countries.

It is very unprofessional to use the numbers or contact details posted on the pages of your fellow professionals for personal reasons. I have received numerous e-mails and Whatsapp messages from people in my network that were not professional at all. Here are some things you should avoid doing on a personal network:

  • Do not contact a fellow colleague through e-mail and send them your personal photos and then request photos from them as well. That is not professional;

  • Do not contact a person you added to your network and ask them to tell you more about themselves; that is not professional;

  • Do not ask for the Skype ID of someone in your network and then ask them to have a voice call for no apparent reason;

  • Do not send Whatsapp messages to your professional network fellow telling them your life story;

  • Do not send a Linkedin message to a connection with a link to a love song music video;

  • Do not even use the contact details of anyone in your professional circles in these networks, unless you ask them first and have a professional purpose rather than a personal one.

 Linkedin and other professional networks should not be used as dating or social sites. And all of the above are real examples of my professional network experience. A piece of advice: When you are using a professional network, keep it professional. Business is business.