When Josh started to roll out the details of the #domosocial experiment, I got the distinct feeling of trepidation. I’ve been fairly quiet in the social networking space, and this experiment would require consistent and active participation on my part. This could seriously jeopardize my goal of never appearing on the first page of a Google Search of my name, or perhaps posting something that I would not like the rest of the world to see. Then again, there is no time like the present to try something new.
Decades ago, a particular event I witnessed set my expectations for social networking, I saw group of four teenage girls all sitting at the same booth in a restaurant, all talking on their cellphones to different people, for about 20 minutes. Why did they all need to meet at the same place, at the same time, if all they were going to do was interact with people that were not there? Since then, I have viewed social networking with that image always in the back of my mind.
At the start of the project, I was not completely new to social networking; I had a LinkedIn account that I started about the time LinkedIn came online. I just never completed 100% of the profile, until now. When I first started using LinkedIn, it was strictly to stay in touch with colleagues. Now, people are using it for so much more. My sister uses LinkedIn extensively for her business; she is associated with a number of groups, and regularly sends out special business discounts and notices to her connections. Perhaps it is not the best way of reaching her target audience, but it is a good way of making use of social networking to expose people to her business.
I also had a Facebook account, but after completing the process for setting up Timeline, I found that Facebook recorded 9 total events in my life from birth to now. At least Facebook recognized me as an entity. Trying to track my Klout score after signing up for the service was somewhat problematic. I could not reward someone for influencing me, either. It’s as if I only partially existed in Klout’s world. I finally tracked the problem down to Twitter. While I had a Twitter account, I had never actually tweeted a message. Klout (and its counterpart, Klouchebag) could not simply handle the fact that someone using the social networking service NEVER tweeted. Once I sent out my first tweet, I suddenly became a person in Klout’s view.
Speaking of Twitter, I have found some benefit to the service. I have been following a company’s tweets about an upcoming product, so I get timely updates on the beta program, new features, reviews, etc. It’s one-stop shopping for the pertinent information, and I don’t have to go hunting all over the Net for it. I also get to see other peoples’ reactions to the product. With more than 100,000 people following the progress, that’s quite an influence.
Thinking back to those teenagers, they were not the Harbingers of Doom I thought they were at the time. It was just bad manners on their part. The ability to reach out to others across the country and across the world is an amazing feat. I have friends all over the world that share the same interests that I do, and we keep in contact. As social networking becomes more ingrained in people’s lives, the world will continue to shrink. This is an amazing time to live in, and it’s only going to get better.
Yes, it’s definitely time to try something new.