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Social Networking for Adult Students
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Making the Most of Social Networking Sites

Once you pick a site to join, be sure to create a profile. Take the time to become familiar with the levels of permission and security settings on the site, and be sure you don't reveal personal information such as your birth date (month, date, and year), Social Security number, and address.

Once you've become accustomed to your chosen site, join some groups comprised of members who share your interests, professional goals, or hobbies. Get involved in group discussions that interest you, and give insightful comments, not just "I agree" or "Great post." Try to think of something new and positive to add to the discussion, or start one of your own.

If you have your own blog, consider feeding your posts into your profile on social sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. By doing so, you can easily maximize your exposure and the time you take to write your posts by broadening your audience. This is easily done on most social networking sites, and the sites will walk you through the steps, or you can start a discussion about how to do it!

Career and Educational Uses for Social Networking

Today’s job recruiters frequently turn to social networking sites like LinkedIn to fill job vacancies. Not only is it important to have a presence on sites like LinkedIn, it is even more important to build a professional online profile. Social sites like Facebook can also be helpful in linking you to your next boss or someone who is looking for a business partner. 

Some social networking sites were designed specifically to help people find jobs. These sites allow you to sign up, create your profile, post your resume, and create links to your other social networking sites. Simply Hired is a “job aggregator” site, meaning that it searches job boards and company pages to provide you with a list of possible jobs that meet your skills and location. Another business site, Jobster, will allow you to connect directly with employers, not just with recruiters or job boards.

My Workster is a unique social networking site that is designed exclusively for college students looking for jobs. This is an excellent site that allows college students to “get their foot in the door” with potential employers like Microsoft, General Electric, United Parcel Service, the Mayo Clinic, American Express, IBM, and Nike.

In a 2008 study, the University of Minnesota found that there are many educational benefits for those belonging to social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. When asked what they learned from using these sites, those surveyed listed technology skills as their top lesson, followed by creativity, being more open to new and diverse ideas, and also communication skills.

Respondents also said that by using social networking sites, they developed a positive attitude toward technology, learned how to edit and customize content, shared creative, original work such as poetry and film, and learned to practice the safe and responsible use of information and technology.

Jan Hill is a freelance writer and a certified paralegal for a private university. Her writing has appeared in various newspapers, magazines, books, Web sites, and on her personal writing blog.

SeeFor a list of over 100 social networking sites, see Wikipedia's listing.

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