By Matt Cooney (originally published on Monster's BeKnown Blog)
What does "community" mean in the world of social networks? How can you involve yourself in and manage a community online? For answers to questions like these and more, we’re delighted to welcome Ryan Paugh, community-building expert and a cofounder of Brazen Careerist — "the #1 social network for Generation Y" (Mashable) — to the upcoming discussion "Networking in the Social Age." Ryan recently helped our social media team with the launch of BeKnown, the fast-growing professional network on Facebook, and has been featured as a GenY thought leader in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Associated Press. Monster's "Networking in the Social Age” panel discussion will take place at 7:00 pm on September 28, at the British Consulate in Cambridge, Mass. Register for the discussion via this link — tickets are free and space is limited to 50. The event can be followed online via Twitter at @BeKnown and @MonsterWW, via Facebook, and via the BeKnown blog.
Monster: What is your background?
Paugh: I graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelors Degree in Journalism in 2006. I spent one year working for Merck Pharmaceuticals in Corporate Communication. It was during that time that I started getting involved with social media. The first step I took in building an online professional network was starting a blog and it was through that blog that I met Penelope Trunk and Co-Founded my first startup, Brazen Careerist, a place where ambitious young professionals go to connect and grow.
Since leaving day-to-day operations at Brazen Careerist, I started my own consultancy called Community Karma, LLC and have been helping companies (including Monster.com) build engaging online communities. I have also taken on a role with the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) as their Community Director and Chief Of Staff.
Monster: What is your expertise?
Paugh: My passion is community building, which started when I assumed the role of Community Director at Brazen Careerist. Since, then I have helped over a dozen organizations build communities for connecting with their brand advocates and customers.
Being in the startup world means that on any given day you are assuming many roles. Beyond community building, I spend a lot of time managing day-to-day operations at the companies I work with, building mock-ups for new products and managing our development teams and brainstorming strategies for making the organizations that I work for more successful.
Monster: For someone to thrive in social networking, what should they do?
Paugh: If you truly enjoy helping people then you will be a natural. Social networking is about creating relationships through giving. Find people who you admire and you think you can help. Offer to do something for free that will make their lives or their businesses better. Most people that I have done this for have been good-hearted individuals and have reciprocated by doing something valuable for me in return.
Monster: How do you see social media evolving?
Paugh: I think exclusivity is going to become more important to people as time goes on. The Web is such an open place. You can gain access to virtually anything and anyone at the click of the mouse. In a way this is a wonderful thing, but it is also a big distraction.
For me, as an entrepreneur, what has become more important to me than my social networks on Facebook and Twitter are niche groups where not everyone can join. I think that whoever figures out how to provide people with access to the best people and the best services, without all the noise, is going to make a lot of money.
Monster: What interests you at the moment?
Paugh: Entrepreneurs. The job market has been a mess for awhile now and I believe that entrepreneurship is the solution that America is looking for. Through the YEC, we’re doing a lot to advocate youth entrepreneurship as both a solution to unemployment and underemployment. We’re urging the government to do more to support these people and, consequently, create more jobs.