When I started to write this article, I started by asking myself this question. As my personal point of view about this is in constant motion, and I look at it from a wider perspective, I now answer it with both ‘yes’ and ‘no’!
The ‘yes’ part.
In all times, from the moment we entered the industrial revolution, we have wanted to be associated with our peers. And to do so we started up various organizations. For the management/whitecollar there was/is clubs and for the blue collar there are the unions. All this has got its importance for our history as well for how we look at our future. And especially how we look at our personal brand, since I have already talked about it in my earlier article here. My take is that from now on we all need to build at least some kind of online presence in the form of an online resume or a bio.
But wait a minute, are recruiters going to look at your resume/bio or are they only going to Google you? And what will they find then? Is your online profile 100% coherent to the one you’re posting with your application? I think in many cases, like in my own, our online profile is somewhat scattered and not coherent regarding our various bios and presentations, right? So what to do about this then?
Strong professional networks like LinkedIn, Xing, and now also to some level Facebook can give you the window you need to secure your online presence, but is that all? I did a search on Google with this search description: related:www.linkedin.com/ professional networks and here I could see something that really surprised me. On second place you find Flickr, on fourth place you find twitter and on sixth place in my search result Facebook turns up, whereas in the search professional networks LinkedIn naturally turns up first and the others (Flickr, Twitter and Facebook) don’t turn up even on the first 10 pages in the search result. Not a surprise you say, and maybe you’re right, but isn’t it so that in today’s budding flow society we already are setting the boundaries, the standards for the new world professional networks and branding. And to me this also reflects our true persona, our both professional and personal persona and that gives the employer or our customer a much wider prism of whom we are, and what we are about.
The ‘no’ part.
I have already revealed a little of my thoughts here above, but now I will develop my thoughts a little more.
The flow society is coming whether we want it or not, and partly we already live in it. And how fast it will develop it’s all about we the people in the increasingly growing online communities, where Twitter (or equal new services), Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo will be a large part of our professional networks. The paradigm shift has only started and it’s a necessary change, in my thoughts it’s like the great changes humanity went through when going from nomad society to agricultural, and from agricultural to industrial. It will not be a painless change for anyone, and it will take it’s toll out of us humans.
And in this new society, the flow society, the professional networks will be obsolete and it will all come down to what your reputation is, and what skills you have that you can use to trade with. Because currency will also slowly loose it’s value as we exchange services between each other instead of paying each other. So our skills/skill-sets will be of increasing importance for how we will be looked at from a professional perspective.
So, back to my main question: Professional networks – do we need them or are they starting to be obsolete?
YES, now we need them! But NO we will not need them in the future.