Social Network 3.0: A new generation of engagement networks

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So, what is your online professional network of choice?

Wait, don’t tell me. Just think of it. That way we avoid the lawyers and the injunctions and the settlements, and get to keep our hard earned money just a little while longer.

So, think of your favorite professional poison online, and answer me a few questions. In the last 6 months….

…how many times did you use it for anything other than to congratulate someone for their birthday or anniversary?

…how many articles have you read on the site that provided you with a fresh insight or a novel outlook?

…how many requests have you received to connect from people that you know well AND that could add value professionally for you?

…how many job interviews or expressions of interest from recruiters have you obtained?

…how many meaningful interactions have you experienced with your connections that deepened your professional connection with them?

…how many times did you browse through the profiles of people and instantly recognize them?

…how many times did you feel you had an opportunity to significantly advance your career and build your brand?

If my experience and that of many others like me is any indication, your answer to these questions is constant and consistent across the board.

Not many.

In fact, if you stop and think about it, your professional networking platform, that was supposed to be the Holy Grail of career enrichment and enhancement, has devolved somehow, in the middle of the night, when you weren’t watching, into an online address book that reminds you of birthdays and anniversaries.

Now, how the heck did that happen?

Let me remind you of some history.

In the beginning, in the long forgotten era of Friendster and MySpace, in the early 21st century, social networks were focused on one thing – connecting people. And they did it well, remember? We were in awe of how well they connected us to others.

That was Network 1.0, connecting people.

Then, in the middle part of the first decade of the new century, things changed.

That’s when the next generation of social networks showed up.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter. They went beyond connecting people to sharing information. Didn’t matter that the information shared wasn’t world-changing. We were happy with pokes, pics, and pins. It was, and is, awesome.

That is Network 2.0, sharing information.

Ask most people about the current state of Network 2.0, and chances are, if they are totally honest, they will tell you about a vague sense of unease. An indefinable feeling of discontentment. They will tell you that they have a lot of contacts but not enough connections. That they share a lot of information, but not enough knowledge.  That they stay in touch, but don’t stay engaged.

That sounds like the same problem with our professional network that we started this conversation with, right?

So, that’s what happened to our professional networks on the way to greatness. They got waylaid by a strange sense of malaise, and became passive pools of polite reciprocity, instead of actively propelling us to a greater good. They slowed down and settled into our system much like comfort food, impossible to live without, and yet, leaving us wanting more.

That’s how they ended up reminding us of each other’s birthdays and anniversaries, and enabling us to follow each other soullessly through job changes and recycled articles.

So, now that we know where we are, and how we got here, how do we change this state of affairs?

How do we transform our social networks from passive to active, from contact-filled to connection-intensive, from polite superficiality to deep engagement?

How do we leverage the great foundation of Network 2.0 to get to the next level of performance for social networks?

And how do we define that next level of performance systematically and intentionally?

We need the next wave of social networks.

A wave that will do much more than connect people and share information.

A wave will add value to our economies and industries by allowing us to access the unique expertise and talents that lie and grow within each of us.

A wave that will re-distribute knowledge across companies and industries and nations by focusing on knowledge exchanges between the smallest indivisible units of that knowledge – us.

A wave that will be Network 3.0, sourcing knowledge.

This wave has started already through sites like Quora and Slideshare. But that is just scratching the surface. We are yet to see the emergence of engagement networks, the real harbinger of Network 3.0.

Engagement networks will be economically rational communities that match supply and demand of engagements in various domains like speaking, training, consulting, research, publishing, innovating, mentoring, and resourcing.

Don’t confuse these types of networks with marketplaces that may exist today in one or more of these domains. Those marketplaces are meant for professional speakers and trainers and consultants, and their prohibitive pricing has not accomplished democratization of expertise. And they are not peer to peer network communities.

The true engagement network will leverage the expertise of today’s white collar professional by offering them the opportunity to deliver engagements for others in need of that expertise, outside of their regular commitments and in addition to them.

It will enable these professionals to build their brand, earn their promotions, find new jobs, enhance their credentials, and help other organizations and individuals who lack what they offer.

It will enable organizations to acquire talent with zero risk, to create shared value with the economies in which they exist, to collaborate across sectors and nations, and to upskill their workforce.

No, the true engagement network hasn’t been seen yet. But there is one just over the horizon.

It is called QuantumFly.

It is the first ever engagement network, with 8 different types of knowledge sourcing engagements, offered by professionals for professionals.

QuantumFly doesn’t do pokes, pins, and pics. It doesn’t send reminders of anniversaries and birthdays. It doesn’t curate news articles about your connections.

Instead, it helps you DO stuff. Like leveraging your social network connectivity to find engagements in your area of expertise globally. Like getting and displaying feedback on your work in these engagements. Like building an economically rational network of customers and providers for Product You.

It will soon be the largest knowledge sourcing portal on the planet. You should check it out at http://quantumfly.com

You can thank us later.

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