Key Difference – Social Networking vs Professional Networking
Though a clear difference between social networking and professional networking can be discerned, there has been an exponential increase in the number of networking sites in recent years both in social networks and also professional networks. Networking in basic terms is defined as making use of websites to keep in touch with family and friends, meeting new people, sharing information and opinions and, of course, to pass their time. This is supposed to be in addition to traditional forms of friendship but has become a dominant mode these days as people prefer to chat with friends rather than having formal meetings. However, the trend has increased so much in recent times that sociologists and psychologists are worried that this phenomenon has taken over traditional ways of meeting and passing the time. But this article is not on social or psychological aspects of networking. This is to find the key differences between social networking and professional networking that has recently emerged as a tool for companies and employees to further careers and to find new avenues of employment.
What is Social Networking?
First let us begin with an understanding of social networks and their role in the modern world. Social networking is a phenomenon that has been on the rise in recent times and is primarily used for making friends and new relationships. It is also used for keeping in touch with friends and family. FaceBook and Twitter are perfect examples of social networking sites.
There is no doubt that there are companies that are making use of social networking sites such as Twitter and FaceBook to promote their products and services but these sites are dominated by younger generation that is more interested in developing new relationships and making new friends. Hence, the primary objective of social networks is to form and sustain relationships with other individuals. The advantage of social networks is that it allows us to keep in touch with a large circle of friends and family in the cyberspace.
What is Professional Networking?
Professional networking sites are utilized solely for business purposes where companies post information about themselves and professionals post their profiles. These sites are a tool to discuss professional topics and to find new employees which is a better way to hire workforce than traditional means of conducting interviews.
While social networks are primarily concerned with creating new networks among people as well as assist in retaining them, there is a new trend of professional networking where sites are used specifically for business purposes. There are many networking sites that are used by companies and professionals who have made their profiles and disseminate information about themselves. One good example of such professional networking sites is LinkedIn, which is being utilized as a platform by professionals to get better employment and by companies to fire and hire employees.
This is not to say that social networking sites are not being used for professional purposes but professional networking sites are there for this purpose only, and this is what differentiates them from social networking sites.
What is the Difference Between Social Networking and Professional Networking?
Definitions of Social Networking and Professional Networking:
Social Networking: Social networking is a phenomenon that is primarily used for making friends, new relationships and also for keeping in touch with friends and family.
Professional Networking: Professional networking sites are utilized solely for business purposes where companies post information about themselves and professionals post their profiles.
Characteristics of Social Networking and Professional Networking:
Social Networking: Social networking assists in forming new friends and also keeping in touch with friends and family.
Professional Networking: Professional networks assist in business purposes such as advertising for employees and also recruiting.
Social Networking: Facebook and Twitter are some examples for social networks.
Professional Networking: LinkedIn is a fine example for a professional network.
1. “Facebook” by Facebook – facebook.com website – [Designed by Cuban Council. Based on modified “Klavika” font.]. [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons
2. “Moody Hall computer lab” by Ben Schumin – Own work. [CC BY-SA 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons