I hope you will agree with me if I define one of the main problems current professional social networking is facing as the following:
People spend too much time connecting, but are not able to use their connections for something valuable.
You can find many blogs and articles where people are advising how to use your network, how to work with it and profit from it. Sometimes the advices are good, and might be helpful. Anyway, you can do anything but always you will reach just the certain level of benefiting from professional networking. Why?
My theory: The failure does not lie on the site of networkers, but on the site of current professional social networking sites. (CPSN)
Lets list some aspects to understand me.
Based on these two characteristics of professional social networks, and mystified by all articles and “professional” advices, people act in general this way:
That’s what they do, because they are encouraged to do that.
Have you found yourself in the description?
What consequences does acting this way have?
I do not want to write here any theories now, just pure results of experiments I did, and it is up to you to make a conclusion. I made three tests, and here is description with results:
Test 1: When I reached 1050 connection on LinkedIn, (990 people of those 1050 asked me to connect with them), I decided to send an email to all of them, asking about their services and showing my interest in certain areas, and also offering some of my services. So I sent 1050 emails, very professionally written from the marketing point of view.
What do you think? How many of answers did I get from those 1050 people who were addressed? (I underline again, that I showed interest in them personally and in their services)
42. That’s all. 42 people answered… I gave them the chance to sell me something or to get a free help from my side – and 42 out of 1050 replied. Where was those 1008? Probably, they were
fishing on people at that time somewhere else, and deeply taken with
fishing they had no time to answer! Have you found yourself in the text?
Test 2: I asked 7 people who I am connected with on LinkedIn to tell me as many names of people they are connected with on LinkedIn or any other platform as they can – without looking into LinkedIn, and what these people are doing – what is their profession. To specify, all these 7 people have more than 500 connections on LinkedIn. What do you think, how many names plus professions they were able to tell me?
The best one was able to tell me 27 names and professions they do. That’s all. The worse one told me 4… So I ask: How can anyone profit from any network, if he does not know at all who actually is in his network?
Have you found yourself in the text?
Test 3: I chose randomly 100 people of my network, and check two things: 1: In how many groups (place for discussion and interaction) every chosen person participates. 2. The onsite activity of each one of chosen people in last 15 days before my experiment. (For these purposes, as an activity was considered the following: Asking or answering the question, starting or taking part in the discussion, writing or commenting a blog, and recommending anyone.). As an activity was NOT considered if someone connected to someone else on the site.
And the results? Average number of groups: 23,4. Average activity in last fifteen days: 1,2! Can I ask? Why people become members of groups, when they than do not take any action there? Are they doing so to be lately disturbed with weekly newsletters, which they won’t read? Or do they do so to connect to more people, so they can than NEVER contact them?
I do not want to comment too much the experiments. It’s up to you to make your picture about how effective current social networking is.
As the conclusion, I believe that The Second Wave of professional networking sites (SWNS) will be/have the following, which will change professional networking in everything:
That’s it. The Second Wave of Social Networking is close and will blow away the first, ineffective one.
More about how Second Wave of Professional Social Networking will look will be written in next articles.
I will be glad to hear your opinion on discussed topics and I believe we
together can think over The Second Wave of social media.
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