On April 30, 2009 the IBM developerWorks team launched My developerWorks, a community environment built on Lotus Connections,
where IT professionals and developers learn, share, and connect – or as it was
dubbed… The World’s Geekiest Social Network.
Since then I've plunged into the world of social networking –
starting my blog on My developerWorks and playing with Twitter. It's been
a fun, and at times bumpy, ride.
I wanted to share what I've learned...
1. Just do it - It's the only way you'll really ever
learn. It's good to think about it first and read about it first.
But at a certain point, you have to stop thinking and start doing it. It's very
different to read about the phenomenon of social networking or hear about the
hype. You won't "know what it's like" from your
fellow social networkers eyes, unless you're out there doing it yourself.
2. Just do it, often - The more often you do it the
more you'll learn. You're still not going to "get" social
networking by tweeting or blogging or logging in once a month. Try to
spend some time a couple of times a week.
3. Give it some time - Don't expect success overnight.
And don't give up too early. Keep trucking and over time you'll build some
relationships and start to build momentum. I'm amazed at how much I've learned,
how my perspective has changed, and how much more comfortable I feel with
social networking after a year's time. But a year is a long time.
It doesn't happen in a few weeks.
4. Don't write it off - Obviously, this is a
judgment call, related to what you do in your job and where you want to go next,
but for most of you, I wouldn’t advise remaining ignorant about social
networking. Social networking can help you learn new things, stay in
touch with trends and find answers when you need help. It can also help you build a career and a name
for yourself and make connections for the future. So, start dabbling with it now and get a head
5. Don't be scared off by the experts - I'm
not knocking those amazing social media or social networking experts out there!
Hey, I'm amazed by you! But sometimes they're in so deep or so hyper-knowledgeable,
you can feel like getting involved in social networking is beyond the scope of
the average person. Not so. You
don’t have to know everything about everything – just get started.
6. Start out small - You don't need a
complicated, gigantic, multi-site integrated plan to just start learning.
Pick a social networking site like Twitter or My developerWorks and just get
started there. And pick a social
networking site that makes sense for your interests and what you do – if you’re
a developer or an IT pro, My developerWorks is a great place for you.
7. But keep expanding - Once you've mastered one arena
- learn more. Try some advanced tools or capabilities on the site you're
using. Look for new connections. Expand to another site. Start a blog. Just keep learning a little bit at a time.
8. Have fun! Try to find a little fun-factor
in your social networking efforts - even if they're all centered around your
work role. People are drawn to other people who seem... human. So
don't forget to be yourself and have a little fun.
9. Learn from your environment - Don't just use a
megaphone to put your voice out there. Listen and watch what other people
are doing. Especially people who do it well. You can learn from what they
share, how they write, the way they respond to people, etc.
10. Find some friends - There are many people that
have helped me learn new things, fix problems and be my sounding board
for ideas. One of my favorite things in the past year is getting to
know a wide variety of really cool and interesting people on My
developerWorks by interviewing them on my blog.
I can sometimes be a little shy and hang back and if I didn't make the
first move, I might not have met all these people that make social
networking worth it!
Have fun out there in 2010! And if you're a My developerWorks enthusiast or you just want to learn how to get more out of it, come join us in this group!