As discussed yesterday, it’s imperative that ALL communicators (PR professionals, social media marketers, etc.) learn about and engage with the tools we have.
A majority of my clients are IT companies, so ITtoolbox is a great place to integrate them into the community. With over 1 million members, it’s a truly targeted social network.
Signing up is easy and your profile also serves as a resume (think LinkedIn) with fields for your bio, employment history, expertise (such as 3 years of Java experience, 2 years of PHP), links to your work, accomplishments (certifications, books authored, papers and articles), and more.
After your profile is created you can go into the Connection Manager and narrow your focus by picking what topics you are interested in located in the Area of Interest section.
What you choose in the Area of Interest section is important, because it determines your interaction with people through group posts and e-mailed questions that get sent to the entire group distribution list. With one touch of a button, you can reach hundreds or even thousands of experts!
Area of Interest categories include:
- Data Management & Analysis
- Enterprise Back Office
- Networking & Infrastructure
- Development & Integration
- IT Management & Trends
You can drill down even further by subscribing to blogs and joining a variety of groups designed to help users communicate to solve problems and make decisions. Recommendations for groups are based on the areas of interest you choose above, but you can also search for groups or view all to see the entire offering.
The largest group is the Technical & Functional group which covers a range of products and technologies.
- Strategy & Planning (agile project management, FISMA compliance, security-risk planning, etc.)
- Vendor Selection (networking, firewall, voip, servers, etc.)
- Technical & Functional (Cisco, Citrix, Dell, EMC, Hyperion, IBM, etc.)
- Career (system administrator, security, storage, project management, etc.)
Obviously joining a career group is a great way to network and find out about new opportunities in your field.
Not only can you follow a variety of posts from group subscriptions, but you can also subscribe to hundreds of different blogs. Blog topics include:
- Business Intelligence
- C Languages
- Emerging Technologies
- Project Management
- Web Design
There is also an ITtoolbox Wiki that provides thousands of articles for IT and business professionals to exchange knowledge by collaboratively defining IT terms and best practices.
To further expand your connections, you can go into the Member Connections section of your profile to search for members to connect with and build a network. You can search by expertise, area of interest, or by name.
ITtoolbox manages all of your subscriptions by giving you the option to subscribe to various alerts and newsletters, and notifications from blogs that you subscribe to.
In addition, when someone in a particular group (designated in area of interest) wants to ask a question, they are able to using a simple form that is then distributed to the group.
If you’re searching for a vendor, ITtoolbox has a Vendor Research Directory where products are highlighted and some products are even reviewed by the community as it links information and mentions of products through the posts, blogs, wikis, and groups. Vendors are broken down into categories for easy browsing and you can also search for a specific vendor or product name.
General Overview of ITtoolbox
Description: ITtoolbox is an online community, enabling peers to share professional knowledge about information technology. The goal is to help professionals make IT decisions and stay current in the rapidly changing technology market through peer collaboration.
The ITtoolbox platform incorporates a professional network, 28 knowledge bases, more than 200 blogs, 800+ discussion groups, and a wiki to facilitate targeted community interaction.
Usefulness: ITtoolbox provides a platform for collaboration, interaction, and knowledge sharing across multiple IT disciplines. It serves as a community to reach out to when you need help, either through research or posing questions to a group. You can also develop more personal relationships and networks through the Member Connections function. The Vendor Research Directoy is handy both for companies who want to be listed, and for companies searching for a particular solution.
Buzz Meter Ranking: 3 out of 4 Buzz Bees.
Positive: Easy to use, great interaction factor (sending Q&A to groups, establishing member connections). Search function combs through blogs, white papers, discussion groups, wikis, and more.
Negative: Some may think it’s a bit “spammy” when you subscribe to too many groups and blogs. If that is a problem for you, it’s best to set up a separate e-mail folder (or account) for ITtoolbox.