The revolution is called ‘social networking’, not ‘personal branding’

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Editor’s note: Virginio Gallardo has allowed us to publish this article from his blog where he reflects on how social networks force us to reinvent ourselves professionally and become ‘social networkers.’ We wanted to post it since we share his ideas on how technology, and more specially, social networks transform environments and ways of working. At Zyncro we are prepared for this revolution, what about you?

Many already understand that social networks bring the promise of a revolution without precedents in our work environment, but based on old paradigms, they basically think that it is a form of networking, a way of promoting their ‘personal brand’, more than a new professional environment. The revolution isn’t called ‘personal branding’, rather ‘social networking’.

The social networks are perceived by many professionals as a medium that they must be present in to be found, to network and earn notoriety, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

The impact of social networks on our professional lives promises to be much deeper. They represent a new work environment where connectivity will be the equivalent to professional efficiency that will form part of our way of understanding work.

Professional branding and the promotion showcase

More than a decade and a half has passed since Tom Peters wrote his renowned The Brand Called You. Personal branding as a concept has spread and now is living its golden age with social networks.

Linkedin was the first step for most professionals in approaching social networks from a professional point of view, seeking to be found, as a macro-agenda, and a tool for employability. However, they gradually heard of and included other social networks initially with the same purposes, but above all, seeking to increase ‘employability’ through personal branding.

Silently, the Internet has been gradually filled with notoriety search engines. More and more professionals affirm in a loud voice that “if you aren’t on the net, you don’t exist” and basing themselves on the old Machiavellian quote: “Many see what you seem, few know what you are”, try to create themselves an image that “has a high engagement with the target audience.” They seek to become more notorious, more ‘employable’, known by customers/employers and build an ‘appearance’ in line with what is expected of ‘new professionals.’

The new magic words that start to dominate are called Klout, promotion, impact, relevent benefit for our audience, emotional warmth in communication and conversation… Words that are confused with acronyms and Internet analysis software, with promises of going quicker in what seems to them to be a wacky race that lets them reach the clouds in ‘notoriety on the Internet.’

The internet as an environment of professional evolution and reinvention

There is another group of ‘professionals’ for whom the social networks is something deeper, a open door towards a new reality, a virtual reality that provides them with something more than just multiplying professional connections. It provides them with learning to create new forms of professional evolution, to share and reinvent themselves.

Some of these professionals consider that it is a door of light as opposed to the darkness that their organizations and immediate environment live in, where their voices and concerns are not heard, hold no interest or where they don’t know who to talk to.

If we learn to listen to the sound of the network, we can hear how the shout of many professionals from the loneliness is answered by kindred hearts often thousands of miles away, sometimes in other countries, sometimes in other languages, but from those you can really communicate with.

It is another source of information with increasing importance and relevance that complements those that come from their traditional environment. It is a door that many cross without realizing, after having entered for reasons associated with searching for “employability” and notoriety.

Social networks are the place where you can connect knowledge, ideas, intuition and emotions with those who share common interests or think professionally like you, something sociologists dub communities or tribes.

For many, social networks ensure the expansion of your ideas. Innovation is ensuring that you form part of the change, that you form part of a community by sharing what moves and interests you.

The revolution underway: socialnetworkers

Although these phenomena are important, we imagine that the impact of the Internet will be so complex and deep that it will build a new work environment, a new way of understanding work.

Social networks will give rise to a new phenomenon that we could call social networking. The socialnetworker uses the social networks to find clients, partners, suppliers, ‘employability’, efficiency, creativity, ideas, knowledge and personal development based on the philosophy of sharing, with their connectivity rather than their notoriety being a fundamental part of their value as a professional, as their resources are on the Internet and they work in networks.

Although the future is difficult to predict, we can imagine how this new work environment will evolve by analyzing current phenomena like KnowmadsKnowmads, microbusinesspeople or freelancers are knowledge professionals and innovation instigators that are extremely flexible and concerned about their connections and personal development on the Internet, but what makes them real socialnetworkers is they work in networks.

The socialnetworker uses their connections on social networks as a fundamental base for their work to create or improve goods or services, they use the social networks to optimize their work, as the Knowmads currently do, but in this case for their companies. Will this be our future use of the Internet?

The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different. We know that it is no use looking with yesterday’s eyes at what will take place tomorrow, because it is not about finding old paths, it’s about creating them and knowing how it will affect us in moving forward or at least being prepared.

Are you ready for the impact of the social networks?

Virginio Gallardo is Director of Humannova, a HR consultancy specialized in helping lead innovation in companies and manage the organizational transformation. He is author of the book “Liderazgo transformacional” and coordinator of “Liderazgo e Innovación 2.0”. This post was originally published on “Supervivencia Directiva“, where you can follow his thoughts.