4 Reasons You Won't Like Social Networking

(Patrick Buffett/U.S. Army photo)

I know you're out there: the resistors to social networking and all it represents. You see sites like LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook as time wasters, where people do nothing but whine and where you believe your personal information would be picked over and sifted through by strangers if you appeared.

I get it. The social networking landscape has taken on a life of its own in recent years, and you may even worry that you've missed the boat.

If this sounds like you, then here are four typical reasons you will not like social networking:

1. The community online will expect you to engage. Social networking requires participants to be active and converse online with others. This takes time and effort.

2. You'll have to share something about you. If you develop online profiles and connect with others, they'll expect you to tell them something about yourself: your goals, background, hopes, aspirations, etc. Because this is a "social" network, the goal is to share and let others share.

3. Your online connections will want to know how they can help you. Being active online means you'll have to let your contacts know what you need and how they can help. This may make you feel exposed and vulnerable.

4. Mistakes can happen, and when they happen online, they're public. An ill-placed post, comment or photo shared online can go viral quickly. Trolls may respond and use your comment out of context. This is terrifying. To ensure you don't fall prey to online mistakes, you'd have to monitor your behavior, relationships and conversations. This also takes time.

While it's tempting to want to keep things close to the vest and protect your goals, information and career path, it is a choice that should be made by weighing the options. Maybe now you're questioning whether the benefits of staying off social media (you have more time to yourself, no one knows who you are or how to reach you, and you're hidden from recruiters and others who might want to hire or refer you) are really worth the costs to your career.

Consider these benefits of being online:

1. You control the information you share online. You post the information in your LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram accounts. While someone else might "tag" you in a post or image, unless you approve it, that information isn't distributed widely. And if something does appear that contradicts what you want, there are remedies for removing it.

2. Others can find you easily, refer you and endorse your skills, value and contribution. They will learn about your experience, skills, goals and needs and seek to help you.

3. You make yourself relevant and interesting to employers, investors and colleagues. Keywords will deliver your target audience to you. Others will celebrate your successes, cheer you on and mentor you to be in control over your career. Don't we all like having cheerleaders?

4. When you need help, you can reach out to your online network and get support and connections. With a well-nurtured online network, you can ask for direct help when needed.

5. You'll gain insight into trends and happenings in industries, companies and job paths that might interest you from your peers online.

6. You'll learn about opportunities before they become public, because your global network on online contacts will alert you first.

7. Social networking can afford you creative and strategic ways to build and position your personal brand and reputation for your transition out of the military, as well as your career long term.

The idea of being visible, findable and approachable online might feel scary, but in today's environment, job seekers around the globe are leveraging social networking to find employment, grow their career and change jobs.

Ask yourself: Are you sure you can afford to stay off social networking much longer?

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