There’s a variety of new networking sites and tools available on the internet that have been making news. Learn what some of these sites are about, as well as how CalCPA is keeping you plugged into the latest and greatest web 2.0 has to offer.
What started as a networking site for Harvard students, has evolved into a place for people of all ages to stay in touch, exchange information, share interests and generally build an online presence that connects to the entire world.
Signing up is easy, and just requires a valid e-mail address. Once you register, you will be able to customize a variety of aspects of your new “profile” and:
- Allow the site to import your e-mail address book and connect with friends;
- Search for connections based on work/school history or location;
- Upload photos, links or notes, or comment on those that your connections have uploaded;
- Customize your privacy settings to manage exactly who can see what you’re doing on the site; and
- Plug into various applications that range from practical to fun.
Facebook also has the option that allows businesses, public figures or brands/products to create a “page.” The page you create behaves just like a personal profile would, with all the same bells and whistles except, instead of “friends” as connections, you will have “fans” of your page.
CalCPA’s page has more than 200 fans, and increases daily. The biggest plus to the page, besides being connected to and communicating with other CalCPA members, is the daily posting of a variety of information. This information will appear in your “news feed,” a place where all the happenings regarding your connections is featured, as they are posted.
A final thought before you dive in: is it personal or professional? Really, it’s up to you. Although many people choose to use Facebook as a personal network and rely on sites such as LinkedIn to maintain professional connections.
If your 2.0 goal is simply to network, then LinkedIn may be your better option. The LinkedIn basics (privacy settings, personal info, finding connections) are similar to Facebook, but are geared almost exclusively toward professional networking. The tools are fairly cut and dry and focus on your career, finding jobs and business networking. There are more than 35 million LinkedIn members across the globe.
Signing up simply requires a valid e-mail address, followed by customizing your profile. This includes, among other things:
- Searching or posting for jobs;
- Identifying your profile with your industry for updates, other connections in your area, etc.;
- Keeping your connections up to date with your business travels and projects;
- Recommending other colleagues you have worked with, or being recommended, to build a professional identity; and
- Asking general industry questions on the relevant community page.
Once you’ve done all that, make sure to join the CalCPA group. Available to CalCPA members only, this group allows you to find other CalCPA members, add them to your network, get to know them better professionally and, hopefully, be able to use them as a resource in your own professional career. CalCPA members are indisputably California’s finest CPA professionals. When you join the CalCPA group on LinkedIn—which has more than 300 members—your profile page will proudly display the CalCPA Member logo for all your peers and clients (and any of the other 35 million members across the globe) who view your profile, or land on your page from a search result.
Via the CalCPA LinkedIn group, you also can remain up-to-speed and comment on developing professional issues, which are posted under the “News” and Discussion” tabs.
CalCPA Networking Sites
CalCPA has created its own series of professional networking sites, specific to different CalCPA member groups. This narrows the focus of your network, connecting you only to the people with the same professional interests as yourself. It’s your own CalCPA network within the larger network of 34,000 CalCPA members. You can connect with those in your backyard or with others who hold the same position as you.
While there are sites for members with interests in financial literacy, litigations and membership advisory, the best example is our Young Emerging Professionals site, which boasts almost 600 members. Again, the sites share many of the same features as Facebook and LinkedIn. You can upload photos, text or blog entries on your profile page, as well as post videos, comments and questions in the general forum area, subject to the administrators approval.
Browsing the site, you will find YEP members asking their colleagues about job opportunities, blogging about recent CalCPA events or searching for participants interested in forming a study group. All of the tools on the site are simply a way to give participants a chance to connect with each other. While CalCPA members and nonmembers can belong to the site, all membership is based on an administrator’s approval.
Let’s face it, with so many ways to communicate, shorter is better. Twitter is a “micro-blogging” site. Users post short (140 characters or less) updates—or “tweets”—that answer the Twitter query: “What are you doing?” But, it’s not as narcissistic as it sounds—it’s a great way to share ideas and learn what others are thinking about.
Signing up is easy: Enter your name, a username, password and e-mail address, and you’re ready to tweet.
Once you’re up and running, you can hone your profile through the “Settings” function, where you can include a brief bio, website and your location, as well as include a photo of yourself or your company’s logo that will appear on your Twitter page. Under the “Devices” tab you can enter your cell phone number, which will allow you to tweet via your mobile device.
Then, search for others by name or by keyword. When you find something you like, you can “follow” that Tweet by clicking on the “follow” button.
You’ll now receive—on your page—any posts the person or organization makes, and you can choose to reply or simply keep tabs on ongoing conversations.
Some tips on replying to posts:
- Beginning your reply with @username sends a public message to a specific individual. It also will reference the conversation so others can follow.
- D username before your post sends a private message to the user specified.
CalCPA has a Twitter presence to immediately push professional and society related information to our nearly 300 “followers.” Moreover, a recent update feeds Twitter postings to our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
Networking times, they are a changing. And CalCPA will continue to change with them, giving you interesting, cutting-edge and evolving ways to stay in touch with your colleagues, improve your network and make you the technological powerhouse of a CPA that we know you can be.