Friday, May 23, 2008

Pros and Cons of Internet Networking

We all know now that social media is the way to connect online, no matter what source you're using. Personally, I stay far away from ad-riddled MySpace, and much prefer Facebook and LinkedIn. These sites provide a way to research new connections, find unknown links to jobs, and provide a neutral and convenient ground for electronic contact. By building an online network through an established site, you have at your fingertips a good internet presence and a margin of authority to be seen even by people who aren't looking at your resume.

On my daily check-in to LinkedIn, I saw a curious question in the forums:

Is anyone a member of Doostang? I am trying to get an invite.

Doostang? I wondered. What the heck is that? The first thing that popped into my mind was an obscure alternative band, a la Hoobastank, trying to grab some attention with a really stupid name. There were two answers to the question:

Not me but if you get in....please send me an invite!

and

Just go type in Doostang in Google and read what someone had to say about it, may open your eyes a little about wanting to get in. You may not after you read her blog.
Good Luck! Hope the addtional information helps!

The second answer really caught my eye, and so I googled Doostang. Right after the listing for the official site, I came upon the referenced blog entry: 3 Reasons I'm Sorry I Joined Doostang.

It all starts with an invitation that reads something like this . . .

I’ve requested to add you as a friend on Doostang, an invite-only career community started at Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. You can use Doostang to find a job or internship, network, and access valuable career information from peers and industry professionals.

Who wouldn’t be curious about something like that?

Harvard, Stanford, and MIT . . . pretty enticing. Some great things have some out of those schools. Some folks who have gotten nowhere have also started in exactly the same places. But most folks who go there are smart in some way — eh?

Inside Doostang are networking opportunities and job listings — some are open to all; many are open only to members of certain “professional groups.” There in lies the rub. To be considered for membership in one of those groups, a member must

  • complete a profile
  • enroll 20 new members in Doostang
  • AND request to join.

Note: The new member cannot see much more than the group’s name. There may be a slight description, but you’ll find no qualifications for membership, no viewable list of members, no sample of jobs that they’re hiding behind their membership.

The invitation above touts the core value they offer, but the rules are that you deliver your value to them before they deliver that core value to you — if they do.

Who’s serving who?

The whole post is worth reading, particularly the comments. Everything is a secret there, unless you know the proper secret handshake or password, and if you are deemed to not be "worthy" they apparently disable your account. I can see the marketing appeal of "invitation-only"--it's worked wonders for Google Mail. But how are you supposed to contribute to Doostang, if you don't know what they want?

I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has had any success with Doostang, that is if they are allowed to disclose any information.

2 responses:

WorkingDefinition said...

Sounds like the St. Anthony's Hall of social networking sites.

Kate Hutchinson said...

@WD - I think of it as being closer to the Masons..


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