The short answer is yes, of course! As much as some may say it’s different, the new wave, will supplant in-person networking… The interactions you have on LinkedIn, specific listserves, Twitter, and even Facebook are indeed networking. Include these activities in your networking analysis, giving them their own rows. (See “Is your networking working?” for more on analysis.)
Because you don’t go anywhere for social networking, analyzing its value in terms of time takes a bit more work. Create a simple time-sheet that allows you to add up the minutes or hours spent per month. Every time you go on to check Facebook, every time you go on LinkedIn to answer or ask questions, every time you moderate a blog comment or go back and forth with someone on a blog: log a start and stop time. And then add it all up.
In most cases, you want to see time for each social networking item; however, some people lump them together and that works okay.
If you pay a fee for the listserves, membership in LinkedIn, etc. then break that cost down so you have a monthly cost. As noted above, either lump all costs together or show them separately.
Note: If your blog is part of a website, don’t try to break out cost. If your blog is just a blog or primarily blog, then it may be appropriate to show cost for hosting it.
Biz Dev and Other Value
The guidelines shown in “Is your networking working?” for noting business development value and “other” value apply here, too. That includes the timeframe of two to three years for business development to roll.
When it’s more like advertising
Networking is a marketing tool. So is advertising. If your social networking activity is fairly passive, then it falls more into the advertising bucket than it does a networking bucket.
That is not to say those activities are not valuable! However, if you do not spend much time actually interacting, then take them off the networking list (or beef up your activity).