Networking and Employment

I'm finding I don't build large social networks online, at least not compared to other people I know. My Facebook account occasionally rises above 100 connections, but seldom for more than a few days. My LinkedIn network is relatively small, with no recommendations. The same holds for other social networks such as Yahoo, Google, and LiveJournal. I simply don't randomly add people to my network -- not even acquaintances.

The job hunt reminds me that I should expand these networks. HR departments check these connections, whether we like that reality or not. Being "social" does matter to some academic departments, too, especially if you are applying for "new media" teaching posts.

I suppose I could "request" every classmate from high school through my doctoral studies, but most are not people I remember. Those I do remember, it is often for reasons that leave me disinclined to add the individual. I've never been a social butterfly, and the online world makes that rather obvious.

It's strange to think that people care if I have 20 "friends" or 2000, though I do know evidence exists that this matters in careers like sales and marketing. It somehow seems odd to add people I couldn't possible consider real friends, but I do need to seem more active.

A basic truth is that knowing people leads to opportunities, especially for a freelance writer and consultant. So, I am going to attempt to expand my networks. If you are LinkedIn or some other network, maybe you'd like to "connect" with me. Apparently, it is the modern way to build a Rolodex of contacts.


  1. The job market really has changed in recent years. My local paper no longer lists any job openings in the Classifieds, but refers you to their online service. I'm just glad I'm retired, and don't have to worry about it anymore.

    But, good luck to you.

  2. I'm quite surprised that, as part of an HR investigation there would be an investigation that looked into your online network? Is this what is happening? There has been some push and marketing by Linkedin to get corporations to have their professionals create these profiles, we had a representative of the website visit us to extol its virtues. I've refused because frankly, I have no interest in having some crazed person stalking me because of something I may have said on the internet which is all too common if you voice opinions on autism.

  3. An AP article last week indicated 83% of surveyed HR departments use LinkedIn and a stunning 92% perform complete "online persona" checks via Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. I know many universities check, because some people on interview panels have had printed pages from my websites and blogs with them.

    Because I'm in "new media," the background check is assumed. And the more "connected" you are to others in the field or related fields, the more perceived value you have to a university or corporation.

    Social connections matter, however shallow / tenuous they are. Of course, tenure is all about having a reputation in the research field or publications of the discipline.


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