Before the internet was invented, socializing was a big factor in human life.
People connected to each other through social gatherings or events. They talked when they meet; they shared a nod or a handshake; or got together for a coffee or a drink. They even sent paper letters and post cards to each other to show how much they care and to let others know that they were thinking about them.
Today, technology has changed this. Depending on your view, socialization has become better or worse with technology. For my part, I think it has made social interaction better. I got a Christmas ecard a few weeks ago from a friend that I hadn’t seen or spoken to for about 15 years. I was happy to hear from her because we were good friends that lost track of each other over time. I regularly get friend requests from friends or even extended family I have not see for decades. Colleagues that I may have met or worked with frequently add me to their LinkedIn connection. I am able to keep connections to clients and fans via my Facebook Fanpage or Twitter. And if I need a handshake I simply leave the house to go have a drink with my friends and colleagues that live my city or neighborhood.
I don’t think social networks have taken anything away. I think it has added a lot to our lives. I learned about an accident that a cousin was in from a Facebook post his wife made. I only keep ‘real’ friends and family as my Facebook friends so the posts are normally personal with pictures and stories of our kids and daily life. My Facebook friends are really just my real friends and family, not strangers that I’ve never met. This gives me a good chance to see what’s going on with people I care about regardless of where I am physically. If I don’t know someone personally I don’t add them to my friends list. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook Fanpages are used for business and fans.
But what really is a Social Network? If you think of your real life you are already involved in several networks. You are constantly involved with Networks of Family, Friends, Colleagues, Clients, or just casual acquaintances. Social network websites gives you the ability to keep in touch with everyone by simply doing a post to the site. It’s an ability to share your world with others. But you should be selective about who you share with and what you share. Because the reality is that once posted, the content is owned and stored by the Social Network forever. Most people never read the terms and conditions of social network but in exchange for access to the software features you are sharing ownership of the posted content with the network operators.
The basic feature of Social Networks is the Profile. This is a key feature because it gives you a chance to share publicly information that you want people to know about you. This includes a photo, name or user id, and some other basics about yourself. The info required on profiles will be slightly different for each website. If you’re on a niche social network for instance that focus on exercise or diet you may have to provide some information about this subject. rSitez.com, for example, allows entrepreneurs to build any kind of niche social network with revenue opportunities.
Cool Mojito – Social Media Marketing. More Likes, More Leads, More Sales
rSitez – Create your own Social Networking Website
Once you post your profile information, others will be able to search the network, find you, and ‘friend’ you. Friend is used very loosely on social networks. The essence of friending is to give someone permission to access your posted content on the site. The posted content can then be shared with friends. This often depends on the permissions allowed by the site. Permissions determine who can see the content that you posted. So the basics are Profiles, Friending, and sharing for social networking websites. There are other features, but all social networks will have those three core features.
Facebook, with over 1 billion users worldwide is the largest Social Network today. The main focus of Facebook has been personal use. However, more and more businesses are using Facebook for business. Facebook released the Fanpage feature a few years ago to allow businesses to create business networks on the Facebook platform. In 2012 Facebook also released the Business Timeline, and the Timeline Apps program so that businesses could add more value to the Facebook user network. Cool Mojito is a leading brand in this area along with Instagram, Spotify and others. These brands add features and value not found in the core Facebook platform, which helps Facebook to compete better against other business networks like LinkedIn.
Once you create your profile and start sharing content on social networks you are effectively adding value to the social network. The value of the network is largely based on the interaction of the users and the content posted by the user. It’s good to share content and interact with friends and brands on social networks but it also good to keep in mind that everything you share becomes a permanent part of the network. Therefore, have fun, but do so mindfully.
Rohan Hall is the author of Stop Working, a book that teaches entrepreneurs how to build global businesses with technology and strategic partnerships. He is the Founder/CEO of CoolMojito which focus of Social Media Marketing; and the Founder or rSitez, used by entrepreneurs to start their own social networking websites.