Social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can lead to very serious self-obsession, as anyone who has been privy to a Facebooked, "Having a cup of coffee" update can attest to. And many people who use these tools for career development often do so with the self-promotional zeal of a Kardashian.
But the thing is, to get the best out of social media, and to just be a better person period, you should make sure you give back. So take some time to do one of following in the next few months, courtesy of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies (really, that's the name of the book. For once, I'm not being sarcastic.)
- Write someone an unsolicited recommendation; try doing this once a week.
- Share interesting and helpful articles with your network via status updates on a daily basis.
- Connect two people with similar interests without being asked.
- Make exceptions to your rules; for example, if you connect with only people you've met in person, break that rule every once in a while when someone seems to really need help.
- Keep an eye out for job opportunities and send them to people in your network who may qualify.
- Take someone under your wing and mentor him. Even if you're just starting in your career, you could have something to offer.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.