Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Social Media - Ten Reasons to Consider Participating

The social media world is evolving with an entire new community and set of rules online. Over the past few months when facebook announced an open environment, the race and competition in this area an amount of offerings is increasing tremendously.

Since many of my readers are in a corporate environment where they may be prevented or dissuaded from spending time in these sites, I can personally tell you that they have allowed an acceleration of networking.

1. Expanding your Knowledge - There is an incredible amount of knowledge within social media sites such as facebook and LinkedIn and other international sites such as Zing and Viadeo. One of the most powerful tools is the ability to ask questions and have experts answer within minutes. Also searching for individuals in industries or at companies you are interested is one of the core attributes of on-line social networking.

2. References - If you are applying for a job or submitting a project, you can refer to your online profile on LinkedIn. It allows for others you are connected with to write a reference with is there for a long time.

3. Affinity Groups - Groups on social network can be anything from an alumni group, a local business group, a political group or a group just around some interest such as arts. By joining these groups you automatically become part of a much larger network of people whom you may want to meet. There is a lot of power to share knowledge about the subject matter and even post about upcoming events.

4. Personal News - Social media such as facebook is conducive to connecting with friends. There is a mini-feed which will show who you are connecting with, what you might be thinking (you type this in yourself), what you are reading or whet events you may be attending. It has a way to keep you close without having to pick up the phone.

5. Fun and Games - Social media will have a component in sites such as facebook or Myspace of fun and games. My favorite new game is called Scrabulous which is an online game of scrabble. Playing games is a great way to meet new people from around the globe. There are even foreign language versions of scrabulous so you may challenge yourself to play in a 2nd language. There are many other ways to have fun, such as sending someone a virtual gift or passing a virtual drink.

6. Communications - These social networks are now creating a market for new communications tools which never needed to exist before. Tools such as Jaxtr or Skype allow you to contact someone without giving out your personal or business phone numbers. Jaxtr allows you to call from your own phone or mobile phone direct to a real phone. They supply you with a phone number which the other party sees. This protects your privacy. Skype is useful for communicating over the internet either in a chat or phone call. Personally, I use skype for 3+ way conference calls or online discussions. We might have individuals from 4 different countries in our call or chat at a time.

7. Politics and Causes - Many of these sites are being used by business or politicians. Most major political campaigns have embraced facebook and myspace for developing pages for their candidates. They can post pictures or videos from rallies and speeches and allow their members to connect with one another. If you have a particular cause you are interested in you might find it here as well.

8. Music - Too often we tire of listening to corporate radio programmed to play over an over. Through social media many of the musicians have moved away from working with traditional record companies to promoting themselves on these sites. In social media sites facebook and MySpace you will find profiles of the musicians or fan club groups. The power of social media is that you or your friends may share the music they are listening by sending you a link or allowing you to see what they are doing online. There is now a viral or word of mouth way for musicians to promote their music.

9. Capital and Commerce - If you are working on an idea, you can find people from around the world who may be interested in investing. Many of these individuals may live in another part of the world, but are working on projects of interest to you or someone you may know. There again is the ability to learn about venture capital conferences or to connect with an investor or venture capitalist directly.

10. Changing your life - One of the main reasons people are "addicted" to social networks are that they are curious about one another. In a world where many of us don't know our neighbors, the online world provides a sense of connection which may not be found anywhere else. In a sense, the online world includes not only business sites to find your "partner" or "mentor", that person somewhere in your neighborhood, region country or world with the same interests who may take an interest in you. The more time you spend on these networks the more chance there is to meet someone who might change your life or career.

There are so many stories to share. There are so many other social networks emerging right now. Please feel free to add to or share you stories below in the comments.

(Note: Andrew Kaplan also maintains an active blog called you may find more articles and detailed information on that site as well. Kaplan also manages a local site for Charlotte NC called You may find his profile on LinkedIn at )

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Facebook Enthusiast #1 - Getting Started

This is the first in a series of tips and tricks on how to become proficient at Facebook and building your brand, friendships and reputation on Facebook.

The first step is to find a way to understand the Facebook culture.

Step 1: Set up your profile. Face book will have many fields for you to fill out, so I would suggest you fill out all the fields you can and then look at your profile after saving. If you believe you are showing too much information, then go back in and you can deselect some of this info. For example, there is a field for whether you are interested in men or women and your marital or dating status. If you are using Facebook for business, then you may not want to have these fields appear on your profile.

2. Inviting your friends -I would suggest you spend the first day, setting up your profile in Facebook and inviting "trusted friends" plus a few others whom were in your AOL, gMail, MSN, Yahoo or hotmail address books.

3. Sharing applications - Facebook has a unique area where there are custom applications which can be integrated within your profile page. These add-on applications range from very useful to extremely fun or humorous. Some will help you show photos and video's, other's may be for showing your mood or even having a foodfight. Since Facebook has been developed since its infancy for the college student, many of the applications appeal to this audience.

4. Joining Groups - You will find one you are linked up with "friends" on Facebook that you can see or be invited to various groups they belong to. This could be a group about a book, movie or politician, or about a subject such as technology or best vacation spots. In a nutshell, groups are about finding people you have a lot in common with and a way to somewhat randomly find some new "friends"

5. Navigate - Spend the first day navigating Facebook. Click on a friend's profile and see how their screens are set up and what applications are on their screen. Try doing some searches for people in the database. Try to understand the various ways of using search to find your friends.

6. College, High School, or City - Facebook makes it easy to find others within your own geographic area. Again, explore this.

And for lucky 7. Find me in Facebook and feel free to add me as a "friend" and let me now how we met.
Facebook me!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Directory assistance, Please - 1 800-Goog- 411

Dial from any phone

This blog is hosted by google, my gmail account is google, my analytics for watching this blog is now google, my new chat I set up this week is Googletalk, My pictures are stored in Picasa (a google product) and today as I was looking at their new tools area, I found a new tlephone director service called Google Voice Local Search.

I was skeptical at first. I picked up my phone and dialed the number and the recorded voice on the other end said as predicted "city and state please". I said Charlotte, NC. It then said what do you want a phone number for and I thought quickly as it was about lunch hour and said "Pizzeria". within seconds, I heard #1, Amalfi, #2 Brixx, etc. I could just hit the number 1 or say "one" and the service would dial the phone number (I assume for free).

I tried it again with Chinese Restaurants, again it came up with a good list. Then I started to play around. I said "new search" to reaet the searcn and said "Los Angeles, CA" and "Comedy Clubs" and again within seconds was rattling off the names of the top comedy clubs in LA.

I even tried to ask for a "service" instead of a type of product and said "ACT! training" which was the software I spent years training sales people on. Again, went out and started to find companies snd schools offering this.

It also has an option to send the phone # to you as text (SMS) vs. dialing the phone number.

So for a product that is still in the Google Labe, I was extremely impressed. Not only is Google going to collect your searches online, but they are going to track you telephone habits as well and I would guess, start charging companies, if they haven't already to be first in the list in their category.