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Having an online network specific to your field or profession makes sense. After all, you wouldn’t go to your accountant if you were a doctor looking for advice on a patient’s mystery illness. Networks specific to one’s profession can be helpful, not only in the collecting and exchanging of ideas, but also in giving you an opportunity to expose your résumé, or post about job vacancies to a relevant audience.
Bearing this in mind, Memeburn took a look at some of the most prominent professional fields and the social networks which serve them. In each instance, we’ve highlighted, in detail, one prominent example from each field and have then listed some of the others worth looking at:
People working in the IT and tech industry have been looking for ways to stay connected with each other since the days when a computer meant something occupying a very large room and owned only by universities, large corporations and government defence departments. Given the rapidly evolving nature of IT, it is only natural that professionals in this field would have gravitated towards social networking with its ability to connect experts in converging fields and constantly updating news feeds.
IT Tool Box is one of the premier examples how an IT social network can function. While IT Toolbox makes use of a number of the features of standard online social networks, including profiles listing personal information and experience and the ability to blog, it has done so successfully enough to garner more than a million members.
While conventional social networks are useful for media professionals, in that they allow journalists to see what’s happening in the world around them, they can be a little wide ranging. More specific networks allow for people working in the media industry to make relevant connections with each other and hone in on the thoughts of industry leaders.
Wired Journalists, with its newspaper-like styling, allows media professionals to do precisely that. According to the award-winning site, “Wired Journalists was born with the mission of connecting the knowledgeable, expert innovators in online news with journalists of all stripes hoping to learn something new about their evolving craft.”
Academia and Research
Universities can be very isolated and inward looking places. When you reach post-graduate level, it can sometimes feel like you’re the only person in the world interested in what you’re doing. That’s where social networks with an academic and research focus come in. They can connect people with similar fields of academic interest and allow them to share useful resources.
One site which is really good at making these resources available is Academia.edu. The site allows users to “upload their papers to share them with other academics in over 100,000 research areas”. You can also follow particular academics and customise your news feed to show only the latest updates from researchers in your particular field of interest. The site, therefore opens up a lot of information which would otherwise be confined to journals which the academic’s institution may not be subscribed to.
Using social networks as a platform for sharing research papers isn’t limited to university academics either. Epernicus, for instance, allows scientific researchers from universities, private institutions and corporations to connect and collaborate in a number of fields.
Networking is a massive part of entrepreneurship. What a social network, designed specifically for entrepreneurs, can do is connect you with other similarly minded entrepreneurs, funders and investors. Perhaps most pertinently, it allows you to target the connections you make instead of the kind of scatter gun, business card swops of conferences and real world networking sessions.
Efactor, the world’s largest online entrepreneurial community, with close to a million members aims to do all of the above and more.
According to the site, “EFactor helps members find funding by pairing up investors with specific enterprises”.
Another noteworthy feature is the EFactor mentors programme, “which guides entrepreneurs through the different stages of startups”. Mentors provide valuable knowledge that members need to acquire throughout their business ventures
Whatever kind of teacher you are, you could probably use all the resources you can lay your hands on. The internet, and social networks with an educational focus in particular, can provide a number of resources and ideas at little or no cost.
One of the most prominent of these education-based social networks is the Teachers Social Network (TSN).
TSN has been built it with the intention of allowing teachers to connect with each other and share teaching materials with other teachers and students. The site also lets you share lesson plans and compare teaching notes.
A hospital has limited resources, as do medical journals and even medical information websites. While some might suggest that healthcare professionals should be focussing on their patients rather than on social networks , there is something to be said for a social network dedicated to them. They, after all, need to find jobs like the rest of us and the efficient sharing of resources between people in the medical community is as pertinent to their line of work as anyone else’s.
Medical Mingle takes its first cue from the role of social networks in helping people find jobs. It is, after all, a website created by the owners of Absolutely Health Care, a medical job board. Medical Mingle is a “free professional social network for people interested in, working in, servicing, or studying for a career in the medical or health care field…” Medical Mingle offers blogging, job postings, and career resources.
Like medicine, law is incredibly complex. A case can swing on a lawyer’s ability to find an obscure precedent for the ruling they want. Again, like medicine, it therefore makes sense to have somewhere to pool resources and experiences.
Perhaps the foremost legal social network on the web is Lawyrs.net. The site aims to connect lawyers from around the globe, although the highest proportion of the 7255 members come from the States, India and the UK. Aside from the usual ability to create a profile and make connections, the site also allows users to “get legal news updates for lawyers, from inside and outside the lawyrs.net community”. In addition, the site offers a directory of legal firms and publications.
Look, accountants don’t just sit in their offices all day crunching numbers and counting beans. They have to be aware of any change in financial law or tax regulations. While they may not need a social network to keep up to date with these changes, a good accounting-specific social network can keep them up to date with how other members of the profession are dealing with the same, or similar regulations around the world.
Accounting Network is a great resource for accountants. Connecting people in the accounting profession form all over the world, it has a number of features which mark it as a stand out professional social network. Aside from the standard capabilities of a social network, the site also contains relevant video posts, audio podcasts and blogs.
For anyone not familiar with the field, engineers specialise in a number of very specific areas. Occasionally, however, a project worked on by an engineer in one field will require the expertise of an engineer in another field. In cases like that, it saves time and money if the first engineer is able to find the second in the kind of resource database offered by a social network.
Engineering Daily allows for precisely those kinds of connections to be made in multiple ways. These include discussion forums, the latest relevant news and a directory of resources. The site also has a lighter side, which includes a collection of entertaining articles around topics relating to engineering.