Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Friendships, flirtation and marketing meld via social networks...

Generally speaking, during working hours, whenever I'm not on deadline for client projects, my thoughts quickly turn to social networking. Believe it or not, it's been like that since well before the Internet made it so easy to connect with others, because I have a lot of friends I like to keep in touch with, and I've found that the paths between business and friendship often merge in interesting ways. I have to thank Seana Mulcahy and one of her Online Spin columns for pointing me to some interesting facts on modern day social networking, which she gleaned from the Pew Internet & American Life Project's study on social networking websites and teens. The study's overview states, "More than half (55%) of all online American youths ages 12-17 use online social networking sites... for girls, social networking sites are primarily places to reinforce pre-existing friendships; for boys, the networks also provide opportunities for flirting and making new friends."

I think it's fairly safe to say that the patterns presented by these youths also largely hold true for the adults who choose to use social networking sites for business purposes. When we go to work, we're still young-at-heart individuals on the inside, and if we're trying to get or keep in-touch with others while also representing ourselves professionally, we are all still trying to make and/or keep friends. Much of my focus at the moment falls within the advertising industry, and I do my best to keep track of new industry social networking sites like the recently launched Adgabber. A story entitled "A Marketer's Guide to Emerging Social Networks" from Drew Neisser for iMedia Connection also reveals that there are some exclusive social networks out there which add new levels of interest from both personal and business perspectives. After all, money makes the world go round, and social networking represents a disruptive business innovation of the highest magnitude. If pursuing friendships is on your back burner due to job demands, check out this great story on "How to Sell the Value of Social Media To Your Boss" from Rohit Bhargava's Influential Marketing Blog. John Noe's "Socializing with Big Brands" piece for offers more specific insights into making social networking pay off for businesses, but don't miss the "Innovation Key For Social Site ROI" piece from Adotas to ensure that your investments have the greatest chances for profitability. See you around, my friend!