Social Newtorking for Newbies

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Social Networking PictureOk, here we go. I’m jumping into the world of social networking. Why? Because, online, social networking IS networking. Just like a local business owner should network via various organizations, an online business owner should network via various social networking sites. The theory is that if people already know and respect you, and they already know what you do then someday when they, or someone they know, needs a service or product that you provide they will of course come to you. This kind of networking leads to being able to run your business via Reverse Cold Calling instead of you always having to go find new clients. Of course, it doesn’t work this way if you are just in it to get clients. Go to a Rotary Club meeting and hand out fifty business cards only to never return and you can be sure that your “networking” will be a failure. On the other hand if you join Rotary, go to meetings every week, meet people, get to know them and generally become respected as a good member and a good person, then the business will come as a side affect of being a member. It won’t work the other way around.

So, with that premise in mind it is time to launch the social networking campaign. Since any attempt to simply join to get clients will result in failure, joining needs to be about both contributing and building a presents for each social network. And, therein, lies the catch. I don’t get social networking. It has never made any sense to me. I’ve been to Digg, and del.icio.us, and Twitter, and Facebook, and Myspace, and frankly I don’t get it. Oh, the idea of online bookmarks was a good one, but now that I have Foxmarks to synchronize my bookmarks I don’t need them on some website. The whole concept of social networking is that by finding other people like you, you can look at their bookmarks and find great new websites that you have never heard of, and vice versa. Sort of a Netflix recommendation via a matching person instead of via an anonymous matching profile. Sounds good, what could be the problem?

I’ve Got Morons to the Left of Me…

The problem, in a word, is jackassery. I’m going to copyright that, so don’t bother writing it down. Jackassery is the implementation or conception of ideas or actions that would only be committed by or appreciated by a jackass. Or, more Webster-ly: of or pertaining to being a jackass.

99.999% of people on the Internet are fine, normal people that while you may or may not have anything in common with, you would at least be willing to give the benefit of the doubt while you got to know them. One would assume that such a ratio would hold online as well. While that may or may not be the case, the hard truth is that fully 90% of all people who step forth to proclaim their opinions on social networking sites fall into the category of people you don’t want to hear a peep from. There are many sub-categories of these people including: the boring, the socially challenged, the pedantic, the banal, the copycats, and of course the morons. Check the front page of Digg and you will see not 15 very interesting stories that challenge and stimulate your thoughts, but rather 3 “funny news” stories, 1 “funny” Youtube link, 3 “I can’t believe <insert politician/newsmaker> did this” stories*, 5 “Unix is best, No Mac, No Umbuntu, Microsoft sucks” stories, and 3 “technology so new you can’t even buy it and even if you could what would you do with it” stories.

Obviously, these kind of stories don’t inspire me to read. If I want funny news I’ll go to Fark.com. If I want social commentary I’ll check sources that actually care about facts. If I want technology news, well…they might have me there. Anyway, every time I click the “find other people who also liked this” button or its equivalent I find people so nightmarishly moronic that I wonder if I should not have been reading that site in the first place lest my IQ dwindle just from being tangentially associated with such people.

Try It Again – This Time With Feeling

The truth is that I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who are not bozos. The problem is that they are harder to find. You see, the people that you actually want to know, and quite frankly those in a position to actually benefit from your products or services have lives. And, because they have lives they don’t spend all of their time building up their power and credibility on Digg or whatever. That means you won’t find them on the front page. You’ll find them through narrower searches and taking your time. I’m a “now” kind of guy so taking my time is not my forte. However, I am a business man, and as such I’m willing to put in the time to improve my business. Therefore, I will now be making a better effort at the whole social networking thing. I’ll be starting with Twitter. I really, really, don’t know what the heck this thing is for, but we’ll see if it can be for more than 15 year-olds telling each other what store they are in a the mall.

Wish me luck.

*”I can’t believe <someone> did this” stories tend to fall into the same categories over and over.

  1. Those who want to change the Internet and or those who sue that use use it (RIAA, Phone company execs, Congress)
  2. Conservatives (social networkers tend to be liberal overall — though conservative social networkers have certainly carved out their own niche, but you have to go find them.)
  3. T.V or Movie execs who make/change/buy/option/comment on/think about geek properties such as comic books, sci-fi shows or books, graphic novels, or old T.V. shows. Think “alt.nerd.obsessive” (thank you Simpsons)
  4. Celebrities
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