Let's do some prudent networking

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Let me ask you a question: if a global youth festival is going to be organized in a South American country, will the host and participating delegations be worried about how to get enough money to buy airplanes to fly to the festival?

Obvious answer: Never. All they need to do is to buy air tickets to fly there with various airlines. What they need to worry about is the festival how to make it interesting and please its participants.

The question may sound out of place, but the hypothesized scenario is quite similar to what the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union is planning, with the establishment of a social network specific for its member.

It has been reported that the Union plans to spend around US$200 million to build the network, despite the availability of many effective social networks out there hence the analogy of buying an airplane to fly to the festival instead of simply getting tickets from available airlines.

The Union is worrying about how to create something that is already in place, while it should have been concerned about how to make best use of available resources to achieve its objectives.

Speaking about the plan in an interview with Tuoi Tre, Duong Van An, secretary of the Union's Central Committee, said they wanted to have another tool that can help spread the Union's messages "more thoroughly."

They also want to meet the demand to exchange information and make friends among the Union's young members through the social network, An said, adding that it will make them "closer."

With the network, the Union's units in different areas will have opportunities to learn from each other and become more effective, he said.

Another objective that the Union aims to achieve with the social network is to build a database of their members and other management systems.

All these targets can be achieved with various tools offered by the Internet without spending a fortune.

For instance, to spread its messages "thoroughly," the Union needs to establish a portal. The Union, in fact, already has 11 news agencies which are totally capable of widely promoting any of its messages.

To allow the Union's units to learn from each other and its members to make friends with each other, all it needs to do is to select one of the available social networks that are out there. Use a suitable network as a base and modify it to meet specific requirements. 

Management systems like a database of the Union's members can be easily done with a lot of commercial software available in the market.

In short, what matters here is not how to do it, because there are various tools for the Union to choose and achieve their targets in an economical way.

What matters is how to do it effectively. The Union should spend money on capable people who can make use of already available tools effectively and professionally.

The social network project was announced last month and is still being studied in terms of its feasibility, costs and many other factors.

I do hope that the Union's Central Committee will be able to think sensibly about objectives and the means needed to achieve them, so that it can focus resources on crucial tasks instead of wasting them on reinventing the proverbial wheel.

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