LinkedIn is a very powerful way to extend and maintain your network, with a simple clean interface allowing you to search for people by geography and expertise. They have recently restricted the functionality to try and introduce best practice, but for most people this has little impact - if you aren't on LinkedIn, take the time to join! If you are on it already, then use it to the full!!
Play the numbers game with sophisticated searches.
Ecademy is a true Social Networking Site. You can interact directly with people, view their profiles and blog or add comments to blogs (although some purists would argue that they aren't really blogs). The SEO is excellent, allowing you to promote your business in a number of ways, including Marketplace. For £120/yr it represents excellent value. The downside is that it seems visually complex and clumsy until you get used to the interface.......... mainly because there's a huge amount of functionality there to play with!
Connect with people, make friends and potentially... do business!
Business Scene has a great vision - it aims at the "local market" and allows people to focus on the geographical areas where they can deliver results and value. The site is clean and easy to use and, being the "new kid", they have time on their side. The team behind this site will go a long way and justly deserve to do so.
Make trusted connections in your marketplace and do business!
Until recently, Facebook was the preserve of the pre-pubescent teenager. Acne and an unwashed aroma/appearance were almost a pre-requisite, some might have argued. Now large corporates have discovered it - it's fresh and it's fun but some have let their hair down a little too far and found themselves in trouble - law-enforcement in particular seem to have fallen foul......... It's still great fun, with loads of add-ons and ways to connect with people, but just remember that this is the Internet and you have no idea who might be reading your profile!
Behave like a teenager and have a personality on-line!
Xing is similar to Ecademy in many ways, but it comes from Germany, so has the "Audi feel" - everything works efficiently and it's well laid out. Don't try to add your entire address book unless you are between jobs or have a VERY LONG HOLIDAY and plenty of time to spare - even people you are already connected to take ages to add, so this isn't a great site to join if you already have loads of well-connected friends and colleagues......... tedious doesn't quite cover the user experience, but somehow I still like it!
It's German and it's functional - network functionally, but don't expect to build your network fast
I am currently assessing a number of other networks, including Viaduc, Viadeo, Plaxo Pulse, and a number of others........... more to follow in this blog - let me know if you want to have your site (or a site you like) featured here!