The whole social networking area (Blogging, Micro-blogging, Video/Photo sharing, Social network sites like Facebook, Orkut, My Space etc, Professional networks like Linkedin etc) is all about personal branding and marketing. While these Web 2.0 technologies are very useful for keeping in touch with friends and for personal networking, I see a bigger role for these in the professional world. Like the reference checks of the yester years, companies are now checking the online presence/profiles of candidates before hiring. This practice is really catching on and the day is not too far out when personal branding would be one of the key factors influencing your career prospects and professional growth. Establishing a unique identity/brand and marketing should be a key priority for individuals as it is for corporates, this will determine how successful you are as an Individual.
In addition to personal branding having the right network is important. The social network is very powerful, It can help you develop your thought leadership and open up lot of opportunities that you never knew existed. So its essential that you have the right people on your network. Quantity doesn't matter, quality of the network is critical. Activating your network through thought leadership, interactions and discussion is key in order to reap the benefits.
Below is the 'Social Technographic Ladder' from Forrester. Check out their blog for more details. I came across this in one of the blogs and its a very interesting post. The below ladder is self-explanatory. I was in the 'Spectators/Joiners' level beginning of 2008 and over the course of year i have moved to the 'Collectors' level. I aspire to get into 'Creators' level this year. In fact this is one of the target areas I have set out for improvement this year.