Social Networking Extravaganza!

For the last couple of months I’ve been working on my general internet presence, looking in to how organizations and individuals can create an effective marketing and internet presence using the technologies that have been popularized in the media over the last couple of years.

This entry isn’t really going to present any new information, but I wanted to understand, first hand, what this is all about, and you simply can’t read a book about it, I dove in and started doing this on my own.

I’ve used sites like LinkedIn for a while; it’s an easy place to be very specific about my business contacts. I’ve also played around with MySpace, and more recently Facebook. What I found in a really short time is that just in the last several weeks, I can start to see the sites I’ve created take on a life of their own.

The real intent of this exercise was to find out how to apply these technologies to specifically non-profits on how they can create a more effective marketing campaign, and connect with their constituents. I have a lot of material, found out a lot about what’s going on, and I’m beginning to understand the impact this can have on the organizations connecting to people.

With sites that focus on interest ranging from photos, to blogs, to music, to business contacts, social networking isn’t about Facebook and MySpace any longer. Aggregating these sites together to create a composite of interests can including event photo’s on Flickr, event music play lists on iTunes, or Virb, websites using del.icio.us and live updates using Twitter or Pownce. Organizations can even create encyclopedia articles using Wikipedia.

All of this together can be used to create a powerful marketing tool for those organizations who know how to use them, aggregate the information together, and market that to the internet. A couple of important points to remember for organizations wanting to use the Web 2.0 are:

1. It’s highly important to use a consistent look and feel, organizations have spent a great deal of energy creating their "brand," it’s important to carry that forward in an internet presence; in my own efforts I’ve started using the same picture thumbnail on every site (it’s not a picture I particularly like but it’s something I had on hand).

2. Understand the strength of each of the technologies and how to apply them, e.g. Flickr is great for sharing photos, but not for blog entries or editorials, and you wouldn’t use LinkedIn in the same way you’d use Facebook.

3. The real power behind this is not only the separate nature of each of the sites, Facebook being different than MySpace which is different than Pownce, but rather that organizations create mechanisms for aggregating this sites together to create a uniform presence, with a single static site acting as a “hub” to all other services, this is called a mashup. Very much the same way that MySpace and Facebook uses “widgets” and RSS to aggregate content from other sites.

This, IMHO, is both a good and bad thing from several perspectives; first it’s become incredibly easy, with just a little bit of savvy, to create an entire internet presence complete with contacts, networks, and so forth. That said, with Google and other search engines in the mix, this internet presence becomes the encyclopedia galactica for your life, all of a sudden it’s not as difficult as it used to be to find you in the background of a flag burning photo from college hidden. You 20 somethings, and 30 somethings, take note; the internet has a VERY long memory.

I’ll be continuing this as a project over the next several months, but in the meantime, here’s a list of my places on the information superhighway:

Connect with me on LinkedIn
My Facebook Page
MySpace Page
My Flickr Photos

Ross’ Tumblr Page
My links on del.icio.us
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Pownce
Follow me on Jaiku
This is the software I use posted at Wakoopa
Connect with me on Xing

My Playlists on Virb
Google me

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