I like to get together from time to time with people who know nothing about blogging, podcasting or wikis, partly because there’s a good chance that if I slip into some of the jargon they will look puzzled (or bored) and I will have to figure out how to say what I want to say in plain English. Keeps me on my toes.

‘Social networking’ is a case in point. If you are talking with people for whom ‘online’ means checking their email once every three or four days, you might have a challenge getting across the marvellous complexity (anarchy?) of the online social networking field.

The issue is current for me. Having spent a large slab of the last couple of months in co-authoring the book Happy About LinkedIn for Recruiting, it’s not been easy, when emerging from time to time for civilized discourse with non-online people, to explain just what online social networking is (other than online dating) and why it is so fascinating for me.

So today I went looking and found on Wikipedia a fairly succinct statement about online social networking tools: ‘Social networking … refers to a category of Internet applications to help connect friends, business partners, or other individuals together using a variety of tools. These applications, known as online social networks are becoming increasingly popular.’ Wikipedia states that ‘as of 2005’ there were over three hundred of these networks – see a selection of these at  List of Social Networking Sites.

LinkedIn, as one of the leaders in this field, is of course included.

My fellow member of the LinkedIn Bloggers forum, Robyn Tippins, has managed to score an interview with LinkedIn Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Konstantin Guericke. You can read the transcript in Robyn’s “INside LinkedIn” post on the excellent Social Networking blog.

Given that there is a degree of controversy currently within the LinkedIn network, over some of LinkedIn’s policies, this is a good and timely opportunity to hear the LinkedIn side of the story.

A different viewpoint is put by another LinkedIn Bloggers member, the multi-talented venture capitalist Christian Mayaud, in this interview a month ago. Christian and some other LinkedIn colleagues have now formed the LinkedIn Lions forum on Yahoo! Groups.

Interesting times in the social networking space!



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