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Max Curton

Taking online networking back to basics in IT

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IT professionals are struggling to get value from online networking, knowledge-sharing and content driven platforms. Too many recruitment requests, questionable connections, and far too much time spent wading through promotional messages to reach the right content. Individuals need less noise, more relevance. Max Kurton, Editor in Chief, EM360 explains why it’s time for online networking to get back to basics...

Noisy and Confusing

It may be hard to remember but online networking platforms started with a simple model: to provide professionals within a specific market – such as IT – the chance to network and interact with like-minded individuals, sharing content relevant to each individual’s interests, background and preferences. That doesn’t sound anything like today’s experience. Over the past decade that simple but highly effective premise has been completely lost. While still essential for day to day networking and collaboration, the deluge of irrelevant content and connections online platforms serve up second by second is adding to workplace stress rather than supporting any effective or timely knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Just consider how much time everyone spends each day sifting through irrelevant and intrusive recruitment messaging, ignoring sales pitches or checking the credentials of people asking to connect. And that is before trying to locate content relevant to your business or interests. The need for trusted information and effective collaboration has never been greater – but current online networking platforms are no longer providing the quality or relevance required.

Relevant and Like Minded

It is time to take the concept of online networking back to basics and deliver the focused, timely content and collaboration that can truly leverage shared knowledge, experience and objectives. The first step is to create a true community of like-minded individuals. The next step is to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to further refine the experience by ensuring individuals are only presented with truly relevant content – whether that is business continuity, security, data management, unified communications or AI.

It is also essential to avoid overt selling by ensuring content is focused on thought leadership and education. A strong editorial team creating a raft of white papers, podcasts and articles will reinforce both the quality and tone of content, enabling individuals to quickly and confidently access high quality, informative information. Members posting content must also conform to these quality standards, following a simple but effective posting guideline to guarantee that the educational essence of the online networking platform is retained.

Critically, people need to be able to gain fast but trusted access to like-minded individuals – whether that is a technology area such as data science or a market such as financial services. Combining a model that rigorously qualifies those signing up to ensure their identity with simple ways to make connections, network members can engage with new connections with confidence. 

Trusted Experience

In an online world awash with vast amounts of, often questionable, information every business professional needs to find a safe, trusted source of informative and educational content. If that high quality resource can be combined with an online networking platform that ensures the credentials of members, like-minded individuals can rediscover the value of fast, relevant information sharing and collaboration.

By eradicating the noise and removing the extraneous activity, online networking can get back to basics, enabling IT professionals to experience once again the value of focused, relevant and effective information sources, connections and collaboration.