When I started out in public relations, I had never heard the term “networking.” However, I soon realized that I, indeed, had built a solid network of friends and colleagues through college, internships and my first few jobs. Back then (and actually up until about five years ago), I used a giant Rolodex instead of a computer to keep track of my network of friends. Today, it is far easier–perhaps too easy–to create a network.
Recently, I became concerned about the number of people I do not know who are asking to become “friends” on a wide range of social networking sites. So, I asked some young people in our office about their networking rules. Please add your own, but here are a few informal guidelines that they recommend:
- Only invite individuals who you know into your network.
- Start out with a focus on peers, then expand as you develop working relationships with others.
- Invite appropriate levels. Start out with a focus on peers, then expand as you develop working relationships with others. If you work for a company and have perhaps met the CEO once, don’t ask him to be your friend.
- No one should have to ask “who’s this?” when receiving the invitation to join. If you decide to add someone as a “friend” and believe that person may or may not remember you, include a note/message with your request to clarify your intentions.