Social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter are pioneering the way for specialized social networking sites, or niche sites, that create communities around specific interests. LinkedIn, for instance, is a social networking site geared towards working professionals who want to network for business purposes. While joining a catch-all social networking community like Facebook is a great way to make business-related contacts, smaller networks that interact more at the local level seem to be the wave of the social media future.
Many niche social networks have arrived on the networking scene like bright shining stars, popular for a while, but soon disappear into oblivion. The plethora of sites drives out the weaker competition. There are hundreds of bookworm-related niche networking sites that have popped up recently, only to be crushed by the competition or swiped up by larger companies. Still, even the small networking sites that do not get as much publicity could be beneficial. If you have a specific interest that not too many of your peers share, networking online can put more like-minded individuals in touch.
For busy professionals, hopping on board a social media networking site can seem like a chore, but networking through social media can make big payoffs with relatively little work. Oftentimes, professionals already have a resume, cover letter, profile page, website, and other online material that they can upload to the new site. Then, re-establish old contacts, establish new contacts, join online forum discussions, and self-promote while learning about others who have similar goals and interests. Plus, online networking has the added benefit of keeping you on the edge of your game. Talking with others in your professional field about topics that interest you will keep you in the know about the latest trends. Even if you are an avid follower of your industry’s latest trends, you would be surprised to find out what you can learn through a conversation with a likeminded professional in a social networking site.