To Be Linked…What is the Value Proposition?
Social networks are the rage — nothing new there. In fact, two-thirds of online users access ‘member communities,’ which include social networks and blogs, according to research conducted this year by The Nielsen Company. They have even overtaken email as the fourth most popular online category, and they are growing twice as fast as any other category. But are these sites just fun, and a great way to procrastinate, or are they useful in business? How are they being used in our world of languages and localization?
It turns out that the fifth most visited social network internationally, LinkedIn, is the most popular spot for localization professionals. As the ‘localization’ of LinkedIn continues (it is currently the most popular professional network in Europe with more than five million users and is available in several European languages, but it is not heavily used in Asia yet), so does its popularity among localization professionals. It is fast becoming the most popular place to post language/localization news, ask questions, discuss industry trends and conduct surveys.
A lot of the LinkedIn activity in our industry is through industry groups. A few of the most active networks are The Localization Professional, managed by Serge Gladkoff, with more than 3,000 members; the Localization and Globalization Fusion Society, managed by Common Sense Advisory, with more than 1,000 members; and, the Globalization and Localization Association’s new discussion group that already has almost 900 members http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=64313&trk=hb_side_g. All of these, as well as many others, can be found by conducting a search of LinkedIn groups (through the search field on any LinkedIn page).
Once you’ve joined some networks, you can display your industry knowledge by participating in some of the discussions. You can post news to all members of the group’maybe a new report you’ve conducted, or an article you’ve published (always provide the link). Recently I posted a question about RFPs in the localization industry. The answers I received helped immensely as I wrote questions on RFPs for an upcoming survey from GALA.
While these groups in LinkedIn and other social networks definitely build connections and help you with your job, the lingering question is value per minute. They can be quite time consuming’and a lot more fun than other work! The trick is to make sure the percentage of time spent on the networks is comparable to their value and not detracting from other critical business functions you perform. I’m still trying to strike that balance’anyone out there have it figured out?