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Joe,

I read a short post recently about the importance of “personal brand” online when you are searching for a job. I think that managing your personal brand online is important all of the time, not just when you are looking for a job. Since there aren’t any formal “rules” written for social networking sites and how to use them, I thought I’d propose a few.

1. If there’s a place to put a picture, put a picture in it (subject to rule 2).
2. Use a picture of yourself that you like. Social networking is about connecting with other people who want to connect with you. Using pictures of your kids, your dog, or no picture at all is insulting. If you don’t have a picture of yourself that you like, you may have bigger problems than how to use social networking correctly. See your shrink.
3. Take the time to complete the profile and put in some information about yourself. The more information you put on a social networking site, the more likely you will find the people you wan to connect with.
4. Invest some time up front building your starter network. Seek out the people in your outlook address book and review the people the site recommends. Make it a goal to have at least 50 connections on each site.
5. Spend time interacting with the site and others on it. Social networking will only feel like its valuable if you use it. Twitter doesn’t work magically. If you open an account but don’t tweet or follow anyone, it won’t do anything for you. Post some pictures or comments on occasion on Facebook. The reason people link/friend/follow you is that they are interested in what you are up to.

Do you agree? Any rules you’d like to add to the list?

Jason

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