social networking

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The moment when social media became the news

 James Surowiecki pinpoints the moment when social media became an equal player in the world of news-gathering: the 2005 tsunami, when YouTube video, blogs, IMs and txts carried the news -- and preserved moving personal stories from the tragedy.  

The Birth of an Idea

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about new products, services and web sites.  Last night, I grabbed my laptop and sat in front of the fire with Seth Godin’s Tribes playing in the background and just brainstormed.  I have seven ideas and I like them all.  I decided to pick three and really work on them.  The problem that I kept running into is that they are essentially the same business model, just with different names.  That is not necessarily bad, but it feels too much like putting all of my eggs into one basket.  So, I laid back, listened and thought about what I really want and what I believe I excel at. At NewWard Development, LLC, our core business is in web development.  I do the design and marketing work and my business partner, Bob, does all the back end application and database development.  We use a select group of outside contractors to outsource what ever overflow there is in certain areas.  Our recurring business comes from hosting and maintenance contracts.  I do seminar work, speaking, mostly local, to various business groups about internet marketing – well, really relationship building, as it applies to social networking.  That is my favorite part of my “ j o b ” and I am good at it, but it doesn’t scale online.  Or does it?  I talk, IM, twitter, and just generally connect with people all day.   If I am not standing in front of a client, I am on a panel or in the front of a room or on a teleconference or typing away about how to do stuff online.  People ask me questions all the time and I hear a [...]

Why bother blogging?

There are millions of pages online, why should anyone bother reading yours?  You have opinions, you have had experiences, and you have thoughts and passions… but honestly who cares?   Why should you waste your precious time sharing any of that with anyone? Let’s think about this in a different way for a second… What happens if you don’t?  What happens to your business, your passions, or your story if you don’t bother to share any of it?  You are the only one who can light the fire.  You are the only one who has the capacity to generate interest and spread your message and create advocates.  If you don’t tell it like it is, you lose the opportunity for even just one more person to come along and say… YES!!!  I can relate to that – I want that – I want to share in that experience. None of this is about attracting thousands of people to your web site.  All of this is about you getting your truth out to light the fire of just one person who is so turned on by your message that they are going to go out and get one more person on board, who will get one more person, etc…  Would you rather try to do business with a thousand people who just don’t get it or one person who understands completely?  That’s why you bother blogging (or should).  

Networking that Matters

In the words of Seth Godin:  Honestly, I can't say it any better then this :)  Check out Seth's new book: Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us  

A Day in the Life of a Social Networker

The past few days have been interesting at best.  I learned a lot about the social networking world and more importantly, about myself. The details: A few days ago Mari Smith posted a note on twitter about the Profile HTML box on Facebook.  I loved the application and installed it on my profile page and wrote a quick twitter post about it.  This prompted several questions from some Facebook connections.  Instead of answering each of them individually, I created a how to blog post about the application.  I included one very important element; I thanked Mari for letting me know about it.  Through my twitter feed, the post automatically went up on twitter, Mari saw it, came to my blog, commented and let her followers know about the post via twitter.  This generated a couple of hundred visitors to my blog.  It is always fun to watch a traffic spike! Lesson one:  Always give credit where credit is due.  If nothing else, it’s good karma. A day or two later Chris Brogan wrote his Pirate Ship post.  I loved it and after reading it, sent him a tweet about the “Lions and Tigers and Bears” post I wrote on Friday.  I guess he liked it, because he twittered about it and provided a link to his followers.  Again, this generated a couple of hundred new visitors to my blog and I got to watch another traffic spike. Lesson two:  Don’t be afraid to share, even if you’re not sure how well it will be received.  Speak your mind and share your heart.  If you are coming from your truth, you can’t go wrong! On Sunday I participated in a blog posting campaign about Digg and I wrote my “Yes, Sir May I [...]

Yes sir, May I Have Another DIGG Please?

Image via CrunchBase   I have been a member of the Social Networking community for the better part of a decade, long before “social networking” became a meme.   As such, it has been my privilege to watch the internet, some web sites and users mature and prosper.  Lately there has been much ado about Digg and its recent massive banning of users. Digg is a web site that allows you to bookmark articles and allows users to vote on whether or not they are good or relevant. Social bookmarking sites allow users to make friends, share content and give you insight into each other’s preferences. In addition, and without a doubt the most used function, Social Bookmarking allows a web page, blog or news post, to see significant increase traffic. The internet is a competitive market place, there is no such thing as one web site having a corner on a particular niche (tell me if you find one).  When a web site, any web site, is not treating its customers fairly, there are usually ample alternatives that the masses can utilize to that do the same thing. In the case of Digg’s faux pas, you can use Mixx, Stumble, Reddit, and Delicious or a variety of other web sites. Why is Digg’s ban significant? In terms of traffic Digg is considered to be the number one social bookmarking site on the web. My guess is, they are about to lose that distinction. For any web site to be successful and maintain that success, they have to have certain qualities that separate it from the crowd. They must be consistent, reliable and put the community first. According to recent reports, the moderators behind [...]

Customers want YOU in the Conversation

Customers, especially ones that are active on Social Netoworking sites want to talk to you, the business owner.  When something goes wrong or they have something to share with you, today's consumer wants to break through the board room door and talk to you face to face (at least virtually). Today Emarketer wrote Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” said Mike Hollywood, director of new media at Cone, in a statement. “It isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion. I'll give you an example:  The other night I was on twitter and Paul Chaney (@pchaney ) was having a problem downloading his paypal report.  He mentioned this live and also noted "It figures, PayPal doesn't have someone listening on Twitter."  Hummmm,  sounds like a FAIL by PayPal to me.  On the other side of the coin, a blogger was writing about his expereince with JetBlue on Twitter and before he knew it they were following him to keep track of the conversation.  Good job Blue! Enabling your customers to contact you via Social Networks goes a long way to personalizing your relationship with them (do I sound like a broken record yet?).  People don't just want to buy blindly any more, they want to buy from a company that cares enough to invest in the transaction's overall experience.  Yes, I said experience.  You want people to walk away from any transaction or interaction with your company with a smile on their face and the trust and confidence in you to share that experience with their friends. Socail Networking tools are a proactive approach to customer service.  Retailers have long known that customers spread the word [...]

How Not For Profits Can Succeed Online – Part 2 Social Networking

Social Networking has become extremely popular for one primary reason...  People want to connect.  Social networking sites have given people the ability to exchange ideas and information with other like minded individuals.   They can gather in large or small groups and virtually brainstorm, network, share and gain insights.   The question becomes, how do you harness this activity to benefit your organization? Jump in with both feet: When you join a social network, create a profile - but don't just stop there.  Start a group or join other existing groups.   Sites like Facebook have groups - these groups give people who have a common interest a place to enter into discussions, share links, videos and photos and even promote new ideas.  Finding a group of people who would be interested in your cause is a simple matter of searching.  Let's say you are looking for a group of people who are interested in helping victims of domestic violence, do a search on domestic violence and check out the groups that come up.  Try these searches:  Museums, Animal Safety, Diabetes.  If a group doesn't exist that suits your needs... start one! Do not discount MySpace.  Check out the the MySpace Impact Awards (  The Impact Rewards honor organizations who work to create a positive difference in the world.  It may not win you donation dollars, but it will go a long way to creating trust and recognition in the online community.  The only thing you are required to do is set up a MySpace page for your organization and share your message. Interact with the people you connect with on a regular basis.  Set aside a fixed amount on time on a daily or weekly basis to log in, check out [...]

How Not For Profits Can Succeed Online – Part 1

I recently participated on a panel for the Tech Valley Not For Profit Council on how to effectively use Web 2.0 in Not For Profit marketing efforts.  By the time I and the 2 other panalists were finished, the majority of the attendees' heads were spinning with all the information they just received.  It takes a while to absorb something that is so vastly different from what you are used to... so I figured that putting it in plain English might be of some help. Not For Profit companies have to Create awareness for their product / service Obtain donors and supporters for their cause Reach the people they want to help With marketing having to take place on 3 fronts simultaneously, how does a Not for Profit succeed online? First and foremost - you have to tell your story.  As I have stated a hundred times, the most successful business owners are the ones who are passionate about what they are doing.   So passionate that they never get sick of talking about their business, their goals, the successes and the lessons learned along the way.  The majority of people who are involved in a Not For Profit, are there because they believe in the cause and are passionate about what they are doing.   The problem is, they get so caught up in the "daily must-do's" that they forget to share their passion and the real reason they are part of the organization.  The stories Not For Profits have to share have the potential to be the most compelling of all.  Most Not For Profits exist to serve a segment of the population who are suffering from disease, environment or a particular set of circumstances.  [...]

How to Enter a Forum…

That sounds silly doesn't it? Why would I have to learn how to enter a forum? I just sign up and post right? It would seem on the surface to be that easy, but I see a lot of people have a real hard time... Over time forums create a very tight community. Everyone learns the rules and looks out for each other... That's the first thing... Read the rules. Different forums approach how you display links differently or even what you can talk about... The other thing is don't come in gang busters!! Don't try to prove yourself and get to excited about showing everyone your knowledge etc.... Get to know the community first. Hang out for a while. Introduce yourself politely... Usually there is a separate area set aside for intros... And then start browsing. Get to know the other posters... Remember a lot of these people have known each other for a while. They may even be doing business behind the scenes... Once you have a feel for it, start helping out. Helping out... If you have any knowledge to contribute, provide it... Help people with things you know about. Learn... Read... Learn... Read some more... Ask questions... Then let it rip if you want to. The bottom line is very few people can go crazy right off the bat... There is an exception here or there, but usually the community wants to see you contribute for a while before you get bold. They need to get to know you. Definitely don't provide a sales pitch in your first post... You will getting flaming posts and anger the community. Everyone will see it as spam. It's just like building any relationship. Easy [...]