Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Can online networking offer a leg up to the disadvantaged?

Get up, stand up, social network

As any successful professional knows, in most cases it is people and not the classifieds that will help you get your next job and the one after that. In fact, jobs are 10 times more likely to be found via a professional's network than on a job board. Thirty-five to 50 percent of hires made by hiring managers come through direct referrals.

It is for these reasons that I have chosen to conduct an experiment in social networking. My thinking is that since people networking is the best way to get a job, perhaps the latest in online social networking tools can be used to help the "unconnected" to connect in ways not previously possible. In other words, can the latest networking technology be leveraged to allow marginalized and disadvantaged folks to build a personal network that allows them to leap over the old boys/girls networks that have traditionally shut them out? If my hypothesis is correct (that social networking can indeed be used as an effective tool for social justice) then we may have stumbled upon something really important and useful here.

Technoflak will watch this with considerable interest.

(Salon, subscription or day pass required.)

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