Social Networking II

Tomorrow is a social networking seminar at UNF, with panelists coming in from around the country to talk about how to use sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to promote your business.  It should be very interesting.  I wish it didn’t start at 7:00 am, but there you go.

The social networking phenomenon has really come into the mainstream.  MySpace started the whole thing, though chatrooms associated with services like Yahoo and AOL have provided a gathering place for people with common interests for years.  The Social Networking sites, though allow you to ultimately personalize your page, and post quick updates about what you’re doing.  Today, for instance, Andie and I walked the mile and a half to the beach, where I took a picture with the iPhone and posted it to my Facebook page … along with a status update saying we were at the beach.

Why?  Why not?

So what are the “Secrets” of Social Media?  From the news release:

Jacksonville and the beaches area are waking up to the profits to be made from technology and from social media in particular. Conferences like “The Secrets of Social Media Seminar,” happening at UNF on March 26, are attracting growing numbers and teaching locals how to capitalize on social media and other web techniques. Members of the Silicon Beach Alliance will be hosting a round table at the seminar.

My primary interest is in using social networking in my career search, as well as how I might use it when I manage to make it back onto a television program.  Since joining FaceBook a few days ago, I’ve managed to re-connect with some old friends from high school, some former colleagues from C-SPAN, and people I know here in Jacksonville.   I’ve been contacted by a 2nd cousin that I haven’t seen in years, my niece in Indiana, and, of course both my sisters and my daughter in college.  I’ve gotten far better business contacts from LinkedIn, which is a similar service offering similar features, but seems to be focused more on the business community.  But FaceBook also has a presence for The Tiger Bay Club, which is a non-partisan organization for political discussion to which I belong.  There are also a fair few politicians with a FaceBook presence … sometimes established simply by fans of the person.  President Obama used social networking to great advantage during the campaign … or at least his staff did.  John McCain still has a major presence on Twitter, which is a one-to-many text messaging site.

So I hope tomorrow I’ll get some insight on how this tool can be used in the job search, as a promotional tool for what ever media endeavor I might undertake, and also for how it might work in a local political campaign.  In a national campaign, it can be a very useful tool in getting people together in support of a candidate.  I’m not sure how that might translate into a more local effort, but I can’t imagine that’s not something to it.  Political campaigns are all about getting a lot of people to do a single thing … vote for a candidate.  It would seem that there has to be some way to leverage a social network to promote that cause.

So, tomorrow should be interesting.  Whether or not FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are around for a while is fairly immaterial. The concept of using the Interwebs as a communications and organizing tool is very likely here to stay.  MySpace has already started to give way to FaceBook.  Who knows what will eventually eat FaceBook’s lunch.  Something will.  But learning to use the tools now will be helpful, and any advantage I can give myself right now will be worth getting up at 5:30.

I hope.

Sig

–scene–

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