Should I Accept that LinkedIn Invitation?

by Alexandra Samuel

That’s a question I am almost guaranteed to hear during any social media workshop, or indeed, in one-on-one conversations about social networking. Even committed LinkedIn users are often uncertain of which connection requests to accept, or which invitations to extend: Someone who regularly shares your blog posts on Twitter? That guy on your condo board? Your cousin’s girlfriend with the commemorative-gold-coin business?

The problem of who to connect with on LinkedIn puzzles people precisely because the network itself is neither fish nor fowl. Is it a social network like Facebook, where your connections are (at least notionally) “friends”? A public platform like Twitter, where people can see and judge you on the number of your followers? Or just a really awesome address book? Continue reading

Two Ways Women Can Network More Effectively, Based on Research

by Athena Vongalis-Macrow

Despite their many efforts, networking continues to challenge women. Numerous studies back up this conclusion. Herminia Ibarra’s classic study revealed the centrality of networking for male workers, indicating that many networking opportunities are organized around male interests. The male-centeredness of networking means that making connections to get ahead continues to be an issue for many women seeking to progress their careers. Fellow blogger Sylvia Ann Hewlett notes that while affinity groups have shown to be successful, these networks tend to “devolve into a group of peers who gather to gripe about how it sucks to be a woman at our company.” For Hewlett, leveraging women’s potential career boost from networks lay in seeking sponsors or mentors to provide access and exposure to the executive levels. Continue reading