April 19, 2008

Social Networking…Online (Part 1)

Filed under: Information Supernova, Lexicon (Vocab), Personal Branding — Robert John Ed @ 1:09 pm

The term social networking has gotten a lot of mileage with the watershed moment(s) of Myspace, Facebook (my profile), LinkedIn and the tens of other sites hitting critical mass. Once again, the term social networking is being looked at as if it’s a new phenomenon. Typically short sighted, we have to realize that this is not new at all; it’s the fabric that our entire society has been built on. It’s simply a new format where marketers can pay to be part of the situation through advertising, etc. We have to stop acting as though new technology is a new aspect of our society. If it does become a hot topic, chances are that it’s a technology permeating around an aspect of our lives that is pervasive (in this case communication) with ability to scale and eventually be monetized. This may be a sad story, but money makes the world go round.

Why is this important? Simple. We have to understand the fact that the marketing here isn’t necessarily about the intricate web code needed to put a site like FB together; it’s about empowering the users to do something better. It’s about letting someone communicate with people from school that otherwise would be gone forever. People can now keep in touch with hundreds of people, as well as follow their lives. That’s exciting stuff. It also changes the dynamic of communication for masses of people. And that much is apparent already.

Human resources are almost always going to do a Google search on you if you put in your resume. So if what comes up is negative, that certainly doesn’t reflect well. People are meeting, dating and getting married on sites like Match and Eharmony. Hell, I’m learning a new language online. Just a few quick examples. All of these sites have something in common, they make it much easier to create communities of people with similar interests. Those people can then help one another in whatever means they see fit. I think that is the big difference between a website today and website ten years ago. We used to window shop and now they unlocked the doors.

Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook, to his credit seems to have a pretty good handle on this. He normally details that the social graph as existing already and Facebook merely offering a means to harness its power. The term “social networking” in reference to online networks is funneling a distinctly massive practice (that of all social interaction between groups and individuals) into one specific aspect of that practice. It’s not going to hurt anybody, but it is important to know as a marketer.

The second part of this will touch on my own online networking and how it is changing.

(Picture taken from SG Entrepeneurs)


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