By Prof. David Clutterbuck
Research into social networking suggests that people can on average manage a maximum of 150 strong connections and a much larger number of weak connections (Dunbar, 2010).
Weak connections however, turn out to be more important than might be obvious, especially when it comes to finding new jobs (Granovetter, 1973).
Social networking provides opportunities to engage with a much larger number of weak connections than ever before. And if each of your strong connections is prepared to contact their strong and weak connections on your behalf, the size of your secondary network can potentially be tens of thousands.
There seem to be five main reasons why people build social networks around their job and career needs:
Task information – what you need to know to be effective in your current roles
Task achievement – support in doing your current roles
Career – Linking with people, who can play an active role in furthering your career objectives
Development – meeting people, who can help with your personal growth
Mutual support/ kinship – the comfort and confidence that comes from knowing that there are other people who share the same issues and concerns as you do, and who can offer mutual help and learning
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