The Problem With Some Online Social Networks

For a certainty, online social networks can be very valuable. In some circumstances they can help your business to thrive; in others, they can link you with old friends.
There are also “mainstream” online media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, to name a few) that allow you to do even more. So if you’re looking to hook up with old friends, meet new friends, or make acquaintances for the sake of business, then social networking might be a good fit for you.
As with any industry, though, there is an underlying danger: While the Internet has brought a brand new way of networking to the fore, along with genuine and earnest network members, it has also spawned barracudas and their prey, the hopelessly clueless.
If you’re not careful, you could find yourself in a dangerous position – either personally, fiscally or both- so before choosing to join any social network you might want to consider the following three points: motives, time constraints and the members themselves.
Motives
Many online networks will use the guise of “making new friends” as its purpose. In many cases that’s an outright lie. The name of the game (at least for some) is “Mo’ money!” So before joining you might want to ask yourself, “What’s the motive?”
There’s always a motive; otherwise there’d be no network at all. There are thousands of network groups in cyberspace. They call themselves business networks, social networks, money-making networks, or “whatever-is-the-newest-trend” network.
They span the globe enticing whoever will listen as they make outlandish claims such as, “Last month my car was repossessed and Business Management Careers List I was nearly homeless! Then I joined [insert network name here] and made $4000 in one night!” or some other bold-faced lie.
So what is the motive of such claims? Naturally, to get you to jump on board. Even when the network is free to join, you’re taking a chance with this type of membership. Why? Well, that’s point number two…
Time Constraints
Even after joining a “free” network, the time it takes to build relationships and forge solid Business Plan Ideas foundations might not be worth your time.
Think about it. In the time it takes to truly get to know network members, you can develop an actual business relationship via face-to-face. No, it’s not as “convenient” as working from home in your PJ’s, but it still pays the bills.
The other down side to online networks is that you don’t have the opportunity for that “gut feeling” you might have when you sit across the table from someone, when you feel the sweaty palms during a handshake, or simply the pitch of their voice while they relate to you how they killed an alligator when they were just two-years-old while drifting down the Nile River. Alone. Intuition plays a large part in business, and online scenarios eliminate intuition to a large degree.
And that actually brings us to the third point…
The Members
This one’s probably the biggest problem with online relationships. You don’t know WHO you’re dealing with online – you only know what they tell you. And when you get right down to it, is that any way to run a business?
While it might be difficult to track information or do research on a single individual, there are some methods you can use if you’re considering doing business with established companies:
1) The Better Business Bureau tracks businesses in its database, providing a history of complaints for those businesses.
2) Ask EDGAR is the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) own database on the corporate status of various companies and corporations.
3) Hoover’s also provides financial and corporate background information of companies and corporations.
4) “v + company name” allows you to see lawsuits brought against a company. In your Web search, type in the letter “v” followed by the company name,” which will list the legal battles of the company in question.
before you take a leap into social networking, consider the points mentioned above and make a wise decision. And whatever that decision is, be at it diligently.
To your success!

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