Social Networking and Skills Development

The majority of people still rely on their social networks to keep up to date with technology, developments and news in their careers, despite websites specifically designed for career developments.

In an unscientific survey of 30 respondents, many relied on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to learn about tips, tricks and developments in their field. More than two thirds of the respondents used Facebook to follow their colleagues or influential experts. With the new subscription option on the networking site and the ease that links and new knowledge can be shared, it’s easy to see why. Twitter closely followed Facebook with 18 responses.

Surprisingly, websites designed specifically for career development and professional social networking fell by the wayside, according to the survey results. LinkedIn was mentioned by one respondent, while websites like Monster and Career Builder drew only three responses. They fell into the category marked “other.”

Respondents also described how those social networks expanded beyond the web. The majority of the respondents are currently in graduate school specifically because they felt unable to keep up with developments in their fields while also juggling a job.

Professional societies also played a part in how 16 respondents kept abreast with new developments. This included attending conferences, panels and talks as well as networking with other professionals.

Still most respondents rely on their friends and colleagues to learn about job openings and other developments in their professional lives. Much like trading knowledge at the water cooler, only the water cooler is your Facebook wall. Getting ahead in a job may no longer just be about what you know and who you know, but whom you follow.