Normally, using someone isn’t a very nice thing to do. The negative connotations surrounding that word tend to make us shy away from allowing ourselves to remember that it can be a positive thing, as well. Yes, you need to give more than you take and the social space is no exception to the rule. However, there’s nothing wrong with using your network when you need to.
Are you thinking of buying a new product? Use your network! Throw out a quick message on both sites and ask for opinions. The people in your community who have used or owned that item will be quick to tell you the pros – and cons. You’ll get real feedback in real time. What better way could there be to help make a buying decision?
Another way to use your network is to reach out and ask for recommendations the next time you plan pretty much anything. Your contacts will jump at the chance to tell you where the hottest clubs and hotels are, which airlines cost the least to fly on and where you should be eating or shopping. You can get quick advice about anything and everything – including which Elvis impersonator is the best.
Thousands of people are out of work and having difficulties finding a new position. Use those networks, people! Let others know you are on the hunt and ask if they know of openings in your field. Make sure you’ve signed up on LinkedIn and fully filled in your your profile. Give that link out any time you hear of a promising lead or whenever you inquire about an opening someone may know of.
Your network can be used for education research and finding out the latest information about breaking news stories. I suppose these examples wouldn’t be classified as using the people in your community as much as it would be expanding your mind thanks to them. Are you stumped on a homework question? Ask your friends for help. If you have Google’d your fingers to the bone and still cannot find answers you need for a project at work, the people you surround yourself with online may have a clue. When you hear sirens coming from every direction in your neighborhood, a quick hashtag Twitter search will likely yield the fastest results. Quite often, you can find out what’s what on your social network ten times faster than you would via your local news station.
The ways in which you can use your social network are virtually endless. Keep in mind what I said in the beginning: give more than you take. The next time someone asks for help you can offer, don’t ignore it because you are too busy. Take the time to help someone and you’ll be repaid tenfold.
What others ways do you use your social network?