In these troubled times, it is more important than ever to develop, cultivate and maintain your network of contacts. As I look through my Outlook Contacts, I find many, people who I used to work with at companies that I know are no longer there, but I do not have updated contact information for, because they didn't provide me with updated information. If you don't maintain your info, people simply can't contact you and you maybe missing out on interesting job prospects, events you'd like to attend or just news about what's going on within your network. Tools such as Facebook, Linkedin and Plaxo are all tools you can use to maintain your network. Unfortunately, most people don't use just one system, so you probably will need to have accounts on multiple systems in order to properly maintain your list of contacts. Plaxo is free to sign up and people can use that as their address book of reference for your information. And they've changed things, so if you tried them before and were turned off because it nags your contacts, consider giving it another try - they don't do that anymore. Personally, I link my Linkedin and Plaxo together with my Outlook contacts, so if you've maintained your info on either of those systems, I'll always have your current contact info. Even the Plaxo Premium service is relatively inexpensive and let's you build your social and/or professional network using their Plaxo Connections. I've gotten many updates through Plaxo from former colleagues and at least a few people who have bothered to maintain their records have gotten job leads (and at least one job) from me because I knew of their updated contact info. You can even find classmates you might want to reconnect with.
So take a few minutes and update your info if you use any of those systems (or any others). And if you don't use them now, consider doing so. You may just find that it was worth your time.
Feel free to look me up on Linked-In (http://www.linkedin.com/in/richbeynon), Facebook and Plaxo and add me to YOUR network. Follow me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/richbeynon) for periodic Tips of the Day (TOTD).