As the Internet continues to grow, it continues to become more and more a part of our everyday lives. The sudden explosion of web capable mobile devices and social networking has lead to almost everyone having a presence on the web. As the web pervades every day life, we must take advantage of the opportunities it presents.

Social networks give us the opportunity to network with people across the globe. Gone are the days of easily losing touch with old friends or classmates when people move across the country or even across the globe. With the advent of social networks we can now easily keep in touch with colleagues and share information. This is not just useful for finding out about Chuck getting married or Sarah having a kid, you can also leverage social networking to build a strong professional network.

When most people think of social networks they think of MySpace and Facebook. While Facebook may be useful for professional networking I would warn people to stay away from the abyss that is MySpace. When using Facebook I would also make sure to be cautious of what is public viewable. A better example would be LinkedIn, a business-oriented social networking site. LinkedIn allows users to post resumes, gain references, and even help other users with professional questions. You can also find other users linked to your network that might be able to help you in that job you’re applying for or that project you’re working on.

In this day and age a strong web presence is needed in this new Internet friendly professional world. Many employers now google prospective employees, do you really want the pictures of that party you got totally smashed at to come up when a prospective employer is considering you for employment?

Using Facebook for more personal contacts combined with LinkedIn for your professional network you can easily build a quick web presence that can easily be found on the web. This is only the start, from here you can build write a blog, twitter, or even build your own site.

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James Bathgate writes a monthly technology column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in Reality Bytes.

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