I'm going to tell you something about Facebook now and I'm going to be right about it, not necessarily in your general direction but right about it all the same mostly because when I started doing what I'm going to tell you about more than a few years back I got more than a few odd looks, downright disbelief, and here's the kicker, scorn. It pissed me off. I'm not sure why exactly except I didn't liked being judged and I hated being told I was justifying something that was considered bad behavior with something that wasn't true.
Got a lot of energy on this, don't I?
Social networking is not new but back in 2008 it was still newish, in other words, it hadn't exploded. Your grandmother did not have a twitter account or a blog. Myspace was founded on August 1, 2003 and in 2008 Facebook knocked it off the map. LinkedIn launched in 2002 and was specifically for business contacts. It didn't provide anything other than the ability to connect to people and networks. You could put your name and your work history out there but not a lot more. In the beginning it was understood that we should have a linkedIn account but we weren't collectively seeing a lot of value yet. On the other hand, it wasn't hurting us, so why not. There was some confusion initially about the difference between Facebook and LinkedIn (only a little and only in some pockets). Do I really need a LinkedIn account if I have a Facebook account? Why yes, yes you do. If you have a presence in the business world at all you absolutely MUST HAVE A LINKEDIN ACCOUNT. What part of this don't you understand? Why? Because to not have an account means you don't exist. linkedIn became a directory and you needed to be in that directory. You also needed to have your resume up on Monster or Dice or whatever the job search engine of choice was that year. In 2004 I was recruited and landed a job because my resume was on Hot Jobs but I have no idea how it got out there. Monster didn't acquire Hot Jobs until 2010. By the end of 2011 I was recruited by virtue of my work history alone from LinkedIn (resume was submitted to the recruiter as requested). In 2013 I was recruited through LinkedIn again, different recruiter. It should be noted that some people put their entire resume into their LinkedIn profiles. I don't do this, it's limiting. You get yourself boxed that way and don't have the ability to rewrite or rephrase your skill sets for lateral movement. At the beginning of 2016 I mentioned to a friend that I needed a job, she gave me a phone number and two and a half weeks later I had a contract job which managed to go all the way to the end of the year despite the fact that the headcount was lost and the contract position probably should have been eliminated in June.
LinkedIn really did pay off in the end. It is a networking site used extensively by recruiters, a robust tool for the networker in terms of connecting but it doesn't really have a good way to build and maintain relationships. You connect, you move on, you forget who's out there. I have close to 600 connections. Or maybe that's Facebook. Or maybe they're the same number but certainly not the same people. I'd have to look. But Facebook? Facebook I know within one or two on any given day depending on who's gone dormant or gotten fed up with me (I try not to let that happen, it's bad for business). Last I checked it was 598. Of that 598 approximately 125 are business contacts.
Of those 125 business contacts, 25 are tier 1 contacts which means they meet the following criteria:
- They are active in my industry
- We have a history
- We have a healthy current relationship
- We like and respect each other on a personal level
- We interact fairly frequently.
Of those tier 1 contacts, 14 are currently likely to be able to help me. Of those 14, 5 are highly motivated to help me. I'm not sure I can explain the highly motivated part other than that's a combination of the relationship and who they are as people. I'm a highly motivated person. If someone I cared about sent me an instant message on Facebook which read something like, hey, my contract at xxx was up in December, I took some time off and I'm looking for work, can you help me? I'd be all over it. It's something like that.
Here's who they are:
- Woman from 1997 - I've known her that long. We were trainers at The Castle together. I worked with her husband during the implementation from hell at The Factory in 2011. She's just one of those people. The only contact I have with her is the occasional reach out through Facebook. It's as if our fingertips touch across time and space and because we can see each other's lives passing by that contact is still alive. We still know, trust, and care about each other.
- Man I met in a comment string - Seriously, no shit. He friended me about two years ago on a comment string attached to the status of a mutual friend who tends to be incredibly incendiary. So incendiary that I've taken him out of my feed. For a long time it was me and MIMIACS arguing for some sort of sense in a world sliding toward hell right into Trumps mouth and one day he friended me. One day I sent him a message asking if he could give me an RFP on a system upgrade because I needed a Diamond level Oracle partner so we got on the phone. I left the air company before that happened but not before I made him a primary contact of the IT guy who should have known how to contact him in the first place. Somehow we just like each other.
- Sparky Junior - You know, Florkow, he's a Trump supporter so as long as I don't post anything political on my wall he'll still take my resume and run with it because he wants to. Sparky Junior I've known since 1997 too. It used to be me, Florkow, Sparky, and Sparky Junior and it was that way until Sparky Junior got married and then everything went to hell. He's not married anymore so he can take my resume AND he can be my Facebook friend again.
- Guy I barely knew at The Castle - I'm not even sure I knew him directly. I knew who he was and he knew who I was and we friended each other right away and we like each other's kids photos and rights of passage and we get involved in the same online arguments and it's almost as if everyone is right back in the smoking area again except nobody smokes anymore. There's this tenuous link that kept us connected until we finally introduced ourselves. His tie is similar to MIMIACS's in that I sent him up to the IT guy at the air company before I left.
- Guy I knew fairly well at The Castle. We have connections all over the place as it turns out. He's got chickens and bees because he watched my site for so long. I've known him since 1997. His niece was one of Elizabeth's friends before she was sent off to private school back when his niece had trouble having any friends at all (she was a bit of a handful). He also works for a Diamond partner and I also sent him upstairs to the IT guy at the air company.
So what am I being right about? I'm being right about every single lifeline I have being in my Facebook account. We used to have rolodexes, now if we have any sense at all we have other ways of networking. We have Castle reunions. I don't go to those because every time I look at the guest list I see 22 (or whatever) guests attending and when I look at the guest list I see 21 (or whatever) names which means one guest has blocked me. I'm blocked by exactly two Facebook members that I'm aware of, one was a Castle employee and the other is from high school and I did the blocking. Someday I'm going to walk into one of those reunions but it's probably not going to be any time soon, especially in light of the fact that there are generally only 22 people in the room.
The other thing I've used the larger group for is technical help and it's been useful. I'm writing code, I'm stuck and I can send out an SOS. The only thing I have to be careful about is my ability to reciprocate. I have to make sure I can offer up something at some point. It might not have to be technical but it has to be something. I become a very motivated person.
None of this hive behavior is new; what's new is the environment in which the behavior occurs. To all the people in my life (or anyone's life for that matter) who kicked or are still kicking social media in the gut:
- It can't hear you
- You may now stop kicking me. I, the introvert have finally found a way to actually network without turning blue and passing out
- Anyone actively employed and wishing to remain actively connected in the business world without a LinkedIn profile is either insane or has an ego the size of Texas (insane) (I only bring this up because I met two of these at the air company and both of them, oddly enough after being perfectly clear that they were above it, added their profiles within a year)
- Anyone still in resistance to putting up a photo on their LinkedIn profile should probably consider retirement
- It is true, anything you post on Facebook is in reality part of the public domain (get a grip) so don't, for the love of god, post anything you wouldn't want plastered all over Times Square. With your name on it. Being mad at FREE Facebook for having your stuff be part of the public domain is a bizarre reason to disconnect yourself from the rest of the world. Limit yourself to posting pictures of kitties and chat nicely with your co-workers, business connections, school friends and acquaintances, neighbors, and whoever the hell else you meet. As an aside, you can put these people into separate groups and create security classes. It's rough security but it exists. For example, if you want to show almost nothing to the general public but want to show family photos to family, you can do that. Just be aware that those photos are part of the public domain.
Lastly, I went to the well yesterday. I did not want to go to the well directly. I wanted to continue working with my primary and secondary recruiters for as long as possible because once you go to the well all hell can break loose in a number of ways (because you don't start saying no at the well). Also, it's scary for me to go to the well. It's vulnerable. But it was time to go to the well.
After the well comes the hard push and I haven't done that since 1997 but I still remember how. In 1997 that hard push was life changing because I didn't care what and I didn't care where (well, yes, I had to stay in the state and I did have a broad scope desire but I rewrote my resume about thirty times to re-market me about thirty times). I would like something to come out of the well mostly because I have been in this network of people for twenty years and I am rather attached to them. On the other hand, there is social media and it's not like they're going anywhere.
As an aside, just because I started with tier 1 does not mean I won't drill into the secondary and tertiary tiers, I just don't want chaos. Spamming your own swimming pool is not a good idea.