Giving Back to Your Network

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-03-20 Print this article Print

Friday is Karma Day. Give and you shall receive.

TheLadders, a subscription-based careers site that is focused on jobs for people who make $100,000 or more, has an article on how going the extra mile for the people in your social media network is an excellent way to help yourself down the road.

All of the things in the list-based article are online-focused, and have potential to really educate most of us on branding ourselves online, but by helping others first. Some of the more obvious ones include giving people in your LinkedIn network recommendations, but there a few surprising ones in here, namely the suggestion that you buy someone a domain name, as in the person's name, so that he or she can build a Website from it or you can help.

The one that I appreciated the most was the suggestion of using an online tool ( that can track how a person's name comes up in Google searches--an important piece of personal branding these days--and e-mail the person the results.

In similar vein, the NY Times has a piece today, March 20, about how to help those you know who have been laid off and struggling. Some of the examples are shakier than others, including going so far as to suggest lending money, but most of the suggestions weren't as daunting as that, and ranged from helping people build better online profiles to getting people to focus on three areas within social media that an individual can post comments about. The idea is to become known for something, rather than everything.

Another suggestion in the Times article is to lend people office space and time where possible for those stuck in the home office and tired of daily trips to the local cafe or Starbucks, as well as taking people along with you to industry events. Additionally, the article suggests cooking someone a meal, not a fancy meal, but a nice home-cooked macaroni and cheese--not from a box. Sounds like an easy way to make someone feel less isolated and more involved.

With all the consulting companies and small businesses being started in this economy, another great way to help out is to become a customer of the person's efforts. Here's an example from the article:

This is what David Blackburn, who lives in Montclair, N.J., did for his friend and neighbor Josh Crandall. Mr. Crandall lost his information technology job at Morgan Stanley in November. At the time, he had a Web business on the side called The Clever Commute, which helps people who commute to New York City from the suburbs communicate with one another by e-mail about delays on buses and trains.

Mr. Crandall quickly decided to try to turn the site into a business that could earn real money through advertising and the sale of traffic and transit information to local media. "Dave consistently pings me with ideas, about which messages he thinks are good, about the advertising placements and the frequency," Mr. Crandall said. "He also introduced me to a networking group that's all about the nexus of advertising and technology."

The Clever Commute is now up to 5,500 participants.

Tip of the hat, Mr. Blackburn. You got the karma boomerang coming your way. |

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