Second wave of social media, Part 2 – Professional social networks and Open networking

I hope you will agree with me if I define one of the main problems current professional social networking is facing as the following:

People spend too much time connecting, but are not able to use their connections for something valuable.

You can find many blogs and articles where people are advising how to use your network, how to work with it and profit from it. Sometimes the advices are good, and might be helpful. Anyway, you can do anything but always you will reach just the certain level of benefiting from professional networking. Why?

My theory: The failure does not lie on the site of networkers, but on the site of current professional social networking sites. (CPSN)

Lets list some aspects to understand me.

  1. CPSN do not motivate members’ activity. They motivate members to pay for some extra features; they motivate people to join them, they motivate people to connect to each other… But they forget the main thing: They forget to motivate people to help and bring value to each other, and so give sense to professional social
    Why gets extra benefits someone who does nothing but pay 50 USD monthly, and not someone who comments, starts discussions, asks and answers questions and so keeps the site alive? Anyone else sees somethings wrong?

  1. CPSN are incomplete. I do not want to name here one networking site after another and say what they are missing (if you want you can ask me personally about any of them), but simply all of the sites are missing some features. Somewhere are no members’ blogs, somewhere you can not upload pictures, somewhere videos, somewhere is no free job posting, somewhere advertising is missing, somewhere you can do nearly nothing without
    giving credit card details and so on.

Based on these two characteristics of professional social networks, and mystified by all articles and “professional” advices, people act in general this way:

  1. Continuously starting new accounts on new social networking sites. (Personally know one guy who’s member of 17 social networks)
  2. Trying everything to connect with as many members as possible on those networking sites

That’s what they do, because they are encouraged to do that.

Have you found yourself in the description?

What consequences does acting this way have?

I do not want to write here any theories now, just pure results of experiments I did, and it is up to you to make a conclusion. I made three tests, and here is description with results:

Test 1: When I reached 1050 connection on LinkedIn, (990 people of those 1050 asked me to connect with them), I decided to send an email to all of them, asking about their services and showing my interest in certain areas, and also offering some of my services. So I sent 1050 emails, very professionally written from the marketing point of view.

What do you think? How many of answers did I get from those 1050 people who were addressed? (I underline again, that I showed interest in them personally and in their services)

42. That’s all. 42 people answered… I gave them the chance to sell me something or to get a free help from my side – and 42 out of 1050 replied. Where was those 1008? Probably, they were
fishing on people at that time somewhere else, and deeply taken with
fishing they had no time to answer! Have you found yourself in the text?

Test 2: I asked 7 people who I am connected with on LinkedIn to tell me as many names of people they are connected with on LinkedIn or any other platform as they can – without looking into LinkedIn, and what these people are doing – what is their profession. To specify, all these 7 people have more than 500 connections on LinkedIn. What do you think, how many names plus professions they were able to tell me?

The best one was able to tell me 27 names and professions they do. That’s all. The worse one told me 4… So I ask: How can anyone profit from any network, if he does not know at all who actually is in his network?

Have you found yourself in the text?

Test 3: I chose randomly 100 people of my network, and check two things: 1: In how many groups (place for discussion and interaction) every chosen person participates. 2. The onsite activity of each one of chosen people in last 15 days before my experiment. (For these purposes, as an activity was considered the following: Asking or answering the question, starting or taking part in the discussion, writing or commenting a blog, and recommending anyone.). As an activity was NOT considered if someone connected to someone else on the site.

And the results? Average number of groups: 23,4. Average activity in last fifteen days: 1,2! Can I ask? Why people become members of groups, when they than do not take any action there? Are they doing so to be lately disturbed with weekly newsletters, which they won’t read? Or do they do so to connect to more people, so they can than NEVER contact them?

I do not want to comment too much the experiments. It’s up to you to make your picture about how effective current social networking is.

As the conclusion, I believe that The Second Wave of professional networking sites (SWNS) will be/have the following, which will change professional networking in everything:

  1. The SWNS will be very complete, including all the features a member can wish. And if a new wish comes, a new feature will be added. So, the member of SWNS will not need to be a part of many networking sites, as he has everything he wants and needs on one place.
  2. The SWNS will motivate people to be active. It will value members who are active, which will lead to increased activity in general.
  3. The SWNS will support “purposeful open networking”, which means connecting between people who can really help each other. (Like from the same locality for example)The open networking as we know it today will not more be popular.

That’s it. The Second Wave of Social Networking is close and will blow away the first, ineffective one.

More about how Second Wave of Professional Social Networking will look will be written in next articles.

All articles are published at my blog on our website, and also at my blog on

I will be glad to hear your opinion on discussed topics and I believe we
together can think over The Second Wave of social media.

To not miss any article, you can subscribe to RSS channel of this blog. I'll be also happy if you tweet about this article series, or let anybody know about it any other way, if you consider it interesting.(Or, you can go to fish for some new people of course :))

Views: 149

Comment by Dina Medeiros on March 31, 2010 at 3:01pm
such timing, like it was written for me. i just recently began deleting groups i once joined on LinkedIN and friends on facebook. I am finding quality not quantity is still where its at...with recruitment and with good old fashion human interaction/networking. I do enjoy engaging new people and connecting with them but am a bit over the connection for the sake of connecting. When i invite people to connect i've either worked with them or spoken to them on the phone and my invitation means, you are intersting, you make me think, i value you....lets network.....
Comment by Matej Valuch on April 1, 2010 at 6:53am
Hi Dina, thanks for commenting! You have a right look on social networking, the one more and more people are starting to have.

Just the networking sites shall be more hepfull - what is something that will soon happen!
I added you as a friend on the site.
The language school of your cousin seems interesting. If they want, they can conntact me and we can change reciprocal links to our slovak websites - We have such co-operation already with 3 language schools, as people comming to our site are likely to undertake English courses.
Lets speak to you later, and hope new articles will also interest you.


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