As Toastmasters, our clubs provide a structure for face to face networking that is hard to match. Our fellow members learn a lot about us through our speeches, our evaluations, our table topics, and our participation in club activities. We learn about them as they become friends and a part of our business network. We find ourselves on club email lists and websites. Does it make sense to invite them into our online social networks as well? Which ones?
I would answer this question with an enthusiastic but qualified yes. The enthusiastic part (yesss!) is because this helps make you a hub in the network, allowing your fellow members to connect indirectly with other people in your life, creating weak ties that benefit all. It also provides a way of promoting each other and your Toastmasters activities to a larger network. The qualified yes (yeees...) acknowledges that this isn't worth creating and maintaining a network you don't participate in anyway. That is, joining a network exclusively to connect with Toastmasters dilutes or eliminates the benefits of participating.
Here are a couple networks I use. If you are too, I recommend reaching into your Toastmasters contacts (including me) with them.
LinkedIn is more than a resume exchange and distribution service. If you use it to promote your professional activities, the word can spread. I connect with other Toastmasters here because these are the kind of connections LinkedIn is designed to work with. On LinkedIn, I will connect with any Toastmaster. If you want to connect to me, my profile is here: http://linkd.in/1EMGNZR
I recommend that your club set up a club Facebook page and use it to announce events and describe activities. Members should connect with the club page for the club's benefit and with each other as friends as they see fit. Here, I am more selective about who I connect with.
Do you videorecord your speeches? If so, you can post them on YouTube and create a personal or club YouTube channel.
Where else on the Internet do you show up? If you use Google+, Pinterest, or something else to connect with your Toastmasters network, leave a comment below and let everyone know where, how and why.
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