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The Top Social Networking Sites for Students

Ah, nostalgia. I remember tipping up to University back in 2005 – all fresh faced, badly dressed, and certainly by no means web savvy. Ofcourse, back then you didn’t need to be; the most complex thing I needed to know how to do was upload my latest preening, doe-eyed Myspace profile picture. Yup, back in [...]

Ah, nostalgia. I remember tipping up to University back in 2005 – all fresh faced, badly dressed, and certainly by no means web savvy. Ofcourse, back then you didn’t need to be; the most complex thing I needed to know how to do was upload my latest preening, doe-eyed Myspace profile picture. Yup, back in those days there was no Twitter, LinkedIn was in its infancy, and (whisper it), Facebook had yet to achieve world domination. It barely seems possible. Anyway, fast forward to the ‘Tennies’ and the world seems a very different place. Social networking is now an unavoidable reality of modern life, so you’d better be prepared to use it to your advantage. The below is a brief outline of what the biggies can do for you.

Facebook

What’s in it for me? Facebook may be the only place where you can find out when Jen from your 19th Century Russian History is going out on the sauce – or, indeed, to pick up some loo roll from Aldi – but it doesn’t have to be all pseudo-stalking and vacuous ‘banter’. In fact, by its very size Facebook can be an invaluable professional resource for students. Notwithstanding the ability to find virtually anyone you might want to contact regarding almost anything, the group pages are a useful way to find like-minded individuals (i.e. those hoping to undertake the same Law conversion courses as you) and ask them for advice or assistance. The fact that the community is generally friendly and engaging further augments its possibilities.

Do: Check into the ‘deeper’ side of things going on; harness your plethora of friends; join worthwhile groups

Don’t: Shamelessly self-promote (blogs etc) too much on your personal profile – use fan pages/groups instead; spend all your time adding good looking people you see in the union.

Twitter

What’s in it for me? Again, many scoff at Twitter as the place for celebrity obsessives and Heat readers to gain their daily sustenance, but in usefulness terms for certain circles it’s peerless. In particular, it’s great for anyone seeking to get involved in media-oriented industries i.e. journalists, bloggers, PRs, TV/Radio industry, but also marketing, sales, academics, web gurus et cetera. In simple terms, this is because a high proportion of users come from these kind of industries, so you’re likely to be able to interact with others who might be able to aid your career. Self-promotion and stranger interaction are also accepted, even expected, on Twitter, so don’t think twice about championing your blog and tweeting to people you don’t know in your industry – I’ve picked up several writing jobs just using this technique.

Do: Follow people and use lists to find tweeters who may be of use to you; tweet often to engage with people; self promote; read other people’s tweets.

Don’t: Sign in once a month to post about your new blog post; only add people you know personally; think it’s only for celebrities

LinkedIn

What’s in it for me? LinkedIn is possibly the most valuable social networking tool for professionals across any industry. Having signed up (18+), you can make ‘connections’ with other working people who you know professionally, building a personalised network of work-related contacts. You never know when Bill in marketing might come in handy somewhere down the road, right? You can also make suggested ‘introductions’ to others, who will hopefully do the same for you from their own resource of contacts. Meanwhile, users can list their areas of expertise, education and experience, which potential employers will check, so a well-written LinkedIn page can set you apart from fellow job applicants.

Do: Build up as extensive a network of contacts as possible – be proactive; take care to put your information accurately and concisely; make it clear what roles might interest you.

Don’t: Be casual – this is a professional network, not Facebook; add people you have no connection whatsoever with.

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