Business Social Networking

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Business social networking is the newest response to the ever growing popularity of the social networking craze that has taken over the Internet in the past few years. Social networking online is defined as a website where people with common interests come to meet, talk, and often then plan to get together in person to further the relationship. College students began this phenomenon when sites such as Facebook took off, allowing students to meet one another online and providing space where a profile could be posted. Today, not only Facebook but MySpace and other sites host millions of profiles and people can meet one another online and take the meeting to the next step of face to face if so desired. Soon, businesses began to realize the power of these websites and the opportunity to find new customers and new business partnerships online and the result is commerce social networking, often on sites just dedicated to the world of commerce.

Many entreprenuerial people already have profiles on Facebook and MySpace. With so many people popping in and out of these sites every day, there is always the possibility that someone may find a person's profile interesting and want to contact them for advice, job offer or to see if they are interested in a product for sale. But because these sites are often more for dating and just having fun, business social networking has taken on a whole new face with its own sites. The largest and most popular business social networking site now is called LinkedIn, which boasts of over thirty million members. But along with LinkedIn are also Ryze and Tribe.net.

How do these websites work? All the sites begin by having a person fill out a form that asks standard questions about where the person is working now, past work experiences, names of associates, etc. All of this information is meant to foster communication and referrals. Once a person submits contacts, friends and colleagues (and make sure you ask before submitting their names) then the system of business social networking begins. The system is meant then to seek friends of friends of your associates and soon the pool begins to grow almost exponentially. While doing good works does not get one into heaven, Jesus said that they are to be a part of the Christian lifestyle. "But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." (Luke 6: 35)

The ease of use of these business social networking websites is a real plus because many business persons don't have the time to spend hours filling out a profile. But once it is finished, including a picture, the profile is discoverable through search engines. This is an amazing opportunity to not only find other friends and associates that a person has lost touch with, but for people to find you. LinkedIn has some unique applications that can be of real help to business persons. For example, there is a reading list that lets a person see what books people in his industry are reading. There is the ability to form work teams within one's own network that is private and where projects can be collaborated as well as an ability to share completed presentations with selected colleagues and friends.

Many people associate networking with just meeting new people and kind of blow off what business social networking can do for one's enterprise. Through the years, studies have shown that the average Joe Schmo knows about two hundred and fifty other persons, either by name, or through facial recognition. That means that out of the pool of people a person knows, there is a potential of getting to know or at least getting one's face in front of over sixty thousand persons through the concept of business social networking using the power of the World Wide Web and networks that are designed to just enlarge the gene pool, so to speak. This concept of an ever growing pool of people who has the possibility of providing life-changing information, such as a new job opportunity, or knowing someone who needs just the product you are selling can change forever the new people coming into our lives is just another excuse to forget a name or face. Meeting new people is an opportunity to add hundreds or thousands of other contacts to our ever growing list and one of those people might be the key to a life changing commerce opportunity. So when a person takes the time to carefully and thoughtfully fill out the profile on one of the many business networking websites, a whole new world may await.

Once all the information has been entered into the website, persons that you know can search your network for relevant commerce contacts. While the social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace stress in-person meetings, there may come a time when there will never be the need to have those types of enterprise contacts. As the technology continues to expand, there is no reason to think that face to face video meetings through these business social networking sites won't be possible and happen. In the meantime, even these lower level abilities to network with thousands of other contacts in one's own field of commerce needs to be embraced by everyone doing business in the 21st century. Without a doubt, this is the way business will be done in the decades that follow.

Married Chat Rooms

A horrible internet trend is the married chat rooms where husbands and wives, usually unknown to their spouses, openly flirt and engage in sleazy conversations with other married people. Internet technology has created a lot of opportunities and positive experiences for users. For example, countless entrepreneurs have been able to open niche businesses and offer products/services to a global marketplace at relatively small expense. Shopping online has become commonplace as applications have been put in place to secure financial transactions. Individuals do their banking online, create web pages at social networking sites, express opinions and provide expertise on blogs, and are able to access more information with a simple search than could ever be contained in the family's set of encyclopedias. Email is a terrific communication tool for families, friends, and the business community. But the internet, not surprisingly, also has this horrible dark side where pornography is easily accessible, even to children, and predators lurk to snare the unwary in their traps. A disgusting part of that dark underside is the married chat rooms where spouses who pledged to be faithful seek anonymous thrills with strangers.

Counselors, therapists, and researchers are seeing an alarming rise in the number of couples who are adversely affected by the threat of the internet to their marriage and families. These experts agree that the appeal of an anonymous online fling can be quite strong to someone who may be bored in the marriage. An individual can say anything in a chat room, whether it's true or not, and who will know? This secrecy appeals to some people who easily stretch the truth about themselves to impress other chat room members. Someone who joins one of the popular married chat rooms may justify the behavior because, supposedly, all the other members are married, too. The individuals may tell themselves that they mean no real harm and, after all, what can happen? Everyone's married no one is looking for a real-life encounter. But all this is self-deception. The experts call it escalation. What begins as a supposedly innocent exchange escalates into a more intimate emotional relationship. Before long, the two people involved in chatting with each other may decide to meet in person or even to divorce their current spouses. Two more families have been destroyed by "innocent" chats.

Though the internet wasn't around when God's Word was being written, its principles still address the issue of whether spouses should join married chat rooms. For example, researchers have found that visitors to these sites often give boredom as an excuse. That was King David's excuse, too. Scripture says that "at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab . . . But David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon" (2 Samuel 11:1-2). David was supposed to be with his army, not sleeping all day and wandering his roof at night. His boredom led to murder and the death of David's infant son. If David's example isn't enough to stop someone from being tempted to visit married chat rooms, then how about this warning, that addresses the principle of escalation, from Jesus' half-brother James? "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:14-15).

Several Scripture passages uphold the sanctity of the marriage relationship, but perhaps the most straightforward is this verse from the writer of Hebrews: "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). Visitors to married chat rooms are not anonymous to the omniscient and omnipresent God. The little thrill that comes from flirting with online strangers and developing emotionally intimate relationships with them is a kind of infidelity. It doesn't matter that those chatting with each other haven't met or had a physical relationship.

Getting involved in married chat rooms is plain wrong no matter the excuse or the state of one's personal marriage. If the marriage is in trouble, then the time spent online would be better spent with one's spouse, in counseling if necessary, to renew that sacred relationship. Of course, this doesn't mean that spouses can't participate in any chat rooms. Certainly, there are forums that cater to people with shared interests, hobbies, and professions. For example, several sites exist that are targeted to stay-at-home or working-at-home moms. A forum probably exists for just about any hobbyist, collector, or enthusiast one can think of. It's great to chit-chat back and forth with other people who understands what it's like to spend all day changing diapers and blowing toddler noses or shares one's enjoyment in collecting stamps or coins or comic books. Long-lasting and genuine friendships can come from these relationships. But even here, if a person finds that a friendship with another member is crossing a line so that the content of the chats are being kept secret from the spouse, then it's time to end that friendship and find another forum catering to the same demographic or interest. Under no circumstances, however, should a person sign up for married chat rooms to find new friends. That can only lead to trouble and heartache.



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