Working in the 21st Century.
There are at least three social networks you should be a member of if your not.1. - LinkedIn. http://www.linkedin.comLinkedIn is not as popular as twitter or facebook but services a completely different purpose which is extremely useful. Think of it as facebook pro. It is a way of connecting with co-workers, contractors, people you have worked with; without allowing them to see those embarrassing "Facebook Pictures" from the weekend.
Life is full of wonders, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross; but it's not for the timid; and the same will be said for people working in the 21st century. Unless you are planning on having some sort of Military, Policing, or health care profession, you should expect to change jobs at least three or four times in your career. I know a guy that was just laid off after 26 years a company. He had just finished with a huge event (which ended up being a big success), and when the event was done he was told that the company was changing and he was not to be apart of the changes. Which had me thinking of how long I've been at jobs for (Being in website development my situation is a little different then his but overall it amounts to the same). The longest I've been at a company has been 5 years and that was a part-time position I took after school. I have never been at a company for longer then 3 years at a time (I have had freelance clients for more then 10 years); and I know this to be true for most people I've talked to where the average range is three to seven years. The time of staying at a job for over ten or more years are gone (there are some rare exceptions); for several reasons, they can range from the need for restructuring to the need for "new ideas" (By that I mean bring in someone younger and cheaper). There is also the thinking by personnel there are greener pastures going somewhere else; or they are feeling under utilized or appreciated. Lots of companies these days are disregarding their most valuable resources the people they hire to do the work. With increasing pressure to improve "the bottom line" and performance, they are neglecting the companies long term viability. Don't get me wrong sometimes these changes need to be made but I find that in most situations; the reasons it is done is purely a financial one. With these points in mind it makes keeping and finding new "opportunities" more important and essential.
2. - Twitter http://www.twitter.comTwitter is extremely powerful. It's openness is what allows you connect with people in your community and those with similar interest. This can lead to huge networking or employment opportunities. Many companies are tieing their twitter accoutns to linkedIn and are actively promoting open positions. This is also a great tool for finding out what people really think and if they will fit into your companies culture and if the company is a good fit for you.3. - Facebook http://www.facebook.comMore of a closed personalized social networking application this is still a tool that should not be ignored. You never know when a close friend or family member know of an opportunity but are unaware of your current employment status. You never know who knows of an opportunity and you should not limit yourself in any way.Keeping and managing a good online reputation is difficult. The best advice I can give is the following. Having an online reputation is very important in today's world especially for web developers and it is easy to put your foot in your mouth. That being said I find this is the best way I've found managing my online reputation.
2) Put yourself out there but be mindful and respectful of others, everyone is entitled to an opinion. 3) Know the line between your opinion and the companies. Most companies don't let or like employees going on twitter, facebook or linked in because they are worried about their image and for good reason. If your representing a company on social networks be clear when your representing the company and when your representing yourself. I find it's best to have your own personal social networking account and the companies social networking account. Keep them separate; it creates a clear division between you and the company.
1) Let people know where you stand, if your open, transparent, honest and true to your beliefs you don't have anything to worry about. You are who you are, some will criticize you; some will agree with you.
If the average person will be going through at least four different "career" jobs before retiring, having a good network, is going to be extremely helpful. What does that say for how the future of employment will be in the future?