Morra Aarons-Mele blogs at http://womenandwork.org. She is the author of the upcoming “Women and Leadership in the Digital Age,” part of the new Sage Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership. I talked to her about learning from the millennials, Twittering, and what it means to be technosexy at any age.
MORE: If a woman over 40 is only going to use one type of social media, what should it be?
MA: Definitely LinkedIn. It is widely considered the professional social network. A good thing about LinkedIn is that most people make their profiles public so it’s Google-able. In this day and age, it’s imperative that when someone Googles your name, something about you comes up. LinkedIn basically allows you to make a webpage advertising your skills that can be found in Google.
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MA: I suggest you use it as a full resume. But whenever I am in doubt, I always look at people I respect and see what they do online, and I copy that. Look at someone who is in your field, a mentor, a role model—see what their what their profile looks like, see what they’re social media profile looks like. See what happens when you Google them.
MORE: Can you offer a tip that not many people know about for using social media?
MA: Never underestimate, the value of listservs and email-based communities, they’re not web based so it feels safer and more controlled.
An example of this is an online community called progressiveexchange.org which is a listserv for folks who work in non-profits. This is a wonderful example of the very best of professional social networking. People all around the country share ideas, problems, questions, promote their campaigns and send out jobs. It’s basically a professional association, but it’s an online social network. It’s tightly regulated, and not just anybody can join. No matter what line of work you’re in, do some research and see if there’s a listserv or an online community for people in your field.
I have one more tip and this is really important for women, because research shows that we doubt ourselves more, we always don’t consider ourselves experts, we are less likely to volunteer to write articles or author things in our field. You can really look as social media as an opportunity to let your expertise shine. Social media is wonderful, especially blogs, because it does index highly in Google. So if you want to write a column for a blog about something in your field, it’s a great to get your name out there in a positive way.
MORE: Specifics to avoid, in terms of Twitter?
MA: Yes, in terms of Twitter, in terms of any social network if you’re going to use your company’s name, make sure you’re aware if there’s company policy or ground rules.
There’s a really famous recent anecdote about someone who Twittered. I think they just got hired at Cisco, and they Twittered “Yeah, I just got this job at Cisco, now I just have to decide if I can live with the really long commute and rotten job.” And of course, the hiring manager at Cisco got the Tweet and said this person’s not going to work for me.
MORE: You’ve written about being “technosexy.” What does that entail?