I'm back from a year in Silicon Valley, where I visited and studied Twitter and Facebook. In my new role as a social networking columnist at The Observer, I'll be looking for the most important trends and stories about social networking here. Please keep me in mind as you come across items of interest.
WIll do Jeff. Keep an eye on LinkedIn as the leader in social networking for the business community. They have over 40 million members and are causing some serious headaches for Monster, Hotjobs and CareerBuilder.
I've been to Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale on many occasions during my work at Yahoo!, Hotjobs and Simply Hired. It is a very unique place for sure. It will be interesting to see how things shape up as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google grow and some of the others like MySpace and even Yahoo! struggle to stay relevant. The old belief that "first mover advantage" wins the day does not seem to be holding true. Fortunately it seems to be, he who builds the best mouse trap catches the most mice!
Congratulations on your new position! That sounds exciting.
My focus is on social networking from a business perspective.
I agree that LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter are powerful tools. So is a blog. Most people don't see a blog as a social network, but it is just that in many ways.
I believe it is more important than ever for business owners to maintain an active, well maintained and vibrant blog. Inviting people to comment creates community around your blog, and thus your brand. People get to know each other at your blog as they visit, comment and share ideas and opinions.
Another reason a blog is critical is because we don't own Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter. What if something happens to those networks? They could disappear or change substantially at any time, and in the case of FaceBook and Twitter, it happens all the time.
It's important for this reason to have a blog that you own and control, and not be dependent on 3rd party owned applications. If the 3rd party options are no longer available for some reason, the marketing outreach at your blog can remain strong.
While I'm flattered to be part of a social networking success story, I'm even more excited about the work Charlotte's social media, marketing and PR professionals are doing for area businesses.
Donna Maria has been a beacon for indie businesses. Crystal's bringing non-profits up to speed. Brandon Uttley's teaching Charlotte's most well-known agency, Wray Ward, how to leverage social media. Jason Keath brings a lot of attention to Charlotte with Social Fresh. And in my small way, I'm helping local businesses understand how social media fits into their PR, marketing and customer service efforts.
I can't share too many details publicly yet, but I have a handful of clients throughout NC and SC who will be doing some pretty cool stuff this fall. Jeff, if you'd like to chat privately about what's in store, reach out to me anytime. Twitter or email is best for me.
Charlotte's social media pros are transforming the business landscape in our town -- it's a thrill to be a small part of this renaissance.