Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Quelching Fear of Social Networking

The Columbus Dispatch editorialized against members of the Ohio General Assembly sending Twitter messages during session.  "Delete the tweets," they said.

I bit my tongue recently when an area executive (one younger than me, surprisingly) espoused social networking was going to bring the demise of our nation. 

I recall people, in 1995, saying the same things about the internet. "It's a fad," said many.

So, the fear of social networking is nothing new. This fear is a 2.0 version of fearing the internet that many experienced 15+ years ago when the world wide web took off.

What is with this fear of new technology?

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Blogger, and, even, The Advocate blogs and forums are really nothing more than the continued advancement of the internet. 

I say, "Embrace it!  Dive in."

These new social networks are actually misnamed.  Actually, they are business networks that embrace a social, more-personalized approach.

One stat said 40% of internet users are on some sort of social network.  If Facebook users were a country, it's 350 million subscribers would dwarf the United States.  Even the Pope is encouraging these tools as a way to communicate.

The social networks reflect our world today as influenced by a generation that hasn't known this planet without the internet in their homes.

The bottom line is this:  Consider two businesses, alike in every way.  Which one has a better chance at growth and future success? 

One has a Facebook page to reach a next generation audience, and it's CEO twitters to show his corporate expertise.  The other one fears social networking and, reluctantly, just keeps a web page to reach its customer base.

They won't be the same for long.  I can guarantee that.

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