Business professionals are increasingly using social networking sites to connect with their existing colleagues, rather than find new opportunities. That’s one of the conclusions you can draw from the latest survey on social networking by the Institute for Corporate Productivity.

The study showed that over half of all businesses who use social networking sites do so in order to keep existing colleagues connected and updated. This is an interesting development because the focus on social networking as a concept has been on finding new friends and contacts, rather than keeping in touch with those you already know.

However, it points to an alternative use for social networking sites – project management. For instance, say you are organising a meeting – you need to co-ordinate speakers, topics, venue information, catering and so on. All of the people involved could be working in different locations and so you could connect using a private area of a social networking site. Within MySpace, for instance, you could achieve this by adjusting the privacy settings so non-one could see your profile or connect to you unless you had previously agreed to it. Equally within Ecademy you could set up a private “club” to connect the people involved.

Project management in this way means you could share information using the blogging and messaging facilities of the social network. Plus you could make sure that everyone knows what’s going on by being able to follow the threads of the discussions. That wouldn’t be easy to organise if you did everything via email. True, you could set this kind of thing up yourself using forum software. But why do that when the facilities are already available within a range of social networks?

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