Four Steps to Social Networking Success

Artwork: Chip Taylor
Social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have enabled everyone to become instant publishers. As a result, the content attached to our names will continue to shape perceptions of us both professionally and personally.

This has been a particular challenge for Generation Y, the group of individuals that grew up with Facebook when it was limited to "@edu" e-mail addresses. After people in Gen Y's future workplaces got their hands on the technology and "friended" the younger set, college students had to rethink the content posted to their profiles at various social networking services, says Dan Schawbel, author of the new book Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success.

Schawbel has made a name for himself in the field of online reputation management through, among other things, his blog, the Personal Branding Blog. While blogging, he drew upon personal experiences gained during the rat race of competing for internships and eventually landing his job of choice working in marketing at EMC. Not only has he produced an extensive body of advice for people looking to "manage their brands" online, but also, he has brought a level of credibility to the topic as it concerns Gen Y: Schawbel is only 25.

But while Me 2.0 is aimed at the younger demographic, Schawbel says the book applies to workers of all ages, and based on the broadening social networking landscape, that's good. Facebook claims its fastest growing age demographic is users who are 35 years old or more, and the number of 18 to 24-year-old Twitter users is nearly the same as the 55 to 64-year-old crowd. Knowing how to communicate your professional persona on the Web - and maintain it - will be critical for all generations.

CIO.com's C.G. Lynch talked with Schawbel about the book and how it might help you protect your good name on all the Web sites we use daily. Check out his four practical strategies for improving your online persona.

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