Social networking: just do it

facebook-linkedinA friend recently cooked me dinner in return for a few hours of web strategy. She’s already doing a great job of online networking but she’s under the impression I know loads of arcane secrets about online marketing and social networking, which is flattering but not entirely true (although the dinner was FANTASTIC!).

This morning, my dad said he wanted to try social networking. He asked me why I didn’t have any blog posts on how to use Facebook and Twitter.

I will tell you what I told both of them: there are no secrets, just do it. Dive in, try things out, and make connections. You’ll learn as you go.

When I first got on LinkedIn, hardly anyone I knew had signed up. Now, a few years later, I have over 300 connections, which gives me a searchable network of millions. I haven’t used it to grow my business in any deliberate way, but it’s a tremendous resource with all kinds of potential.

Twitter was an experiment – I didn’t “get it” so I tried it. In my case I use it as a mini-blog but I see friends using it as a way to keep in touch throughout the day, or they offer on-the-spot social commentary, or maybe they just keep up to see where the party is. I hate to admit it, but it’s got a certain appeal. And the fact that I can tweet from my phone…it’s kinda cool. But it’s hard to explain why. I just like it. And so whenever I think about it, I tweet.

On a personal level, Facebook seemed useless to me for well over a year, probably because of my age – late 30s. A year later, now that I’m about to turn 40, many of my friends are online. The newsfeed is starting to get interesting as I read all the posts and find out what my everyone’s doing. I like the apps, too – you can share books and movies, play games (albeit slowly, one turn at a time!), or simply reach out and poke someone.

So for all of you social networking butterflies out there, don’t be afraid. Sign up, log in, and link up. Friend someone today and see what happens.

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