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 )


Anonymous said...

Fascinating article!
Julie Ann Shapiro

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