Traditionally, a person trained under an experienced master until became one. This practice was common for centuries until the recent eras. After the Industrial Revolution, the traditional university system, which existed to train clergy, was adapted to train more common citizens for professions. These professionals had learned a profession that required study, practice and meeting standards. The professional would enter the work world as an employee of some entity or as an independent provider. These practices remain the same today. The typical means of reaching customers was word of mouth, in many areas, for such professionals. Many professionals such as lawyers, physicians and the like would never advertise the services because of the standards of the professions. The modern times altered these rules. Professionals today make use of all available means for exposure and finding of new business. Word of mouth may still be the best means of getting one’s best clients but a new arena has opened, in the recent past, changing the rules once again.
Internet had already made a place in the business world when social media was born. Social media referred to programs that allow the Internet user to interact with the web pages. The individual can read and also write on the website. This created a two way communication forum which blew out of proportion and found its strongest anchor in human relations. Websites dedicated to social networks proved extremely successful for personal connections. These sites improved to become strong business relationship centers. Today, professionals need to be aware of the strong place the social media websites have in the practice of business. Word of mouth may still bring most of the business and referrals may still be the best means of getting good business but a new business arena has been setup which changes the how-to of business in America.
The professional today must have some level of presence in the social media. Some websites, such as LinkedIn, are designed for professional business connections and are fairly static in function. The typical professional may be able to establish effective presence by simply joining and making a solid online profile while not participating in any activities. They are excellent as Internet bases for creating an online presence without dedicating much time. The larger companies may require all employees to join these sites but smaller and independents are still in the dark about the importance of these connections for the future.
One group, that avoids social media as a class, has good reasons for today and the future. Executives eschew social media memberships systematically. Their connections are select and careful without any need for exposure to the outside individuals. A typical executive lacks the same needs a typical worker or professional has in the work world. Social media and basic networking maybe musts for the average person but the executives practice these same skills religiously and at very advanced levels without social media help. One characteristic is their abilities to maintain effective closed networks. The success of business activities requires limited contact with non-members of the executive class networks. Social media exposes executives to everyone and eschews the traditional safety controls for meeting strangers. Successful executives will continue to rely on closed offline business networks for the future but the remainder of the work force have to play by the new rules.
Food and wine professionals are most often seen in Facebook and lately on Twitter. The casual and friendly nature of Facebook makes this personal relationship website a choice for hospitality professionals compared to LinkedIn which lacks friendship paths. LinkedIn puts heavy emphasis on professional credentials and qualifications while Facebook is about the person. The personal social media is also flexible for interaction between the members unlike the business social media. Twitter appears as a perfect tool with its own niche to some users while Twitter fails to provide any functions at all to many more. Twitter is an example of a social media tool most professionals can do without. Every non-executive professionals needs some level of presence in the social media for the future and smaller to medium companies are best positioned by requiring the staff to join some social media websites as the large companies already do. The bottom line remains social media functions as a separate universe and professional need to have some presence or equal as non-existent to millions who may do business in the future.