Social networking is the newest thing to hit mainstream popularity on the Internet.  Now we all have Facebook accounts, twitter accounts, blogs (some of us have a few of each), and are immersed in the middle of the social networking explosion.  Here’s a question for you – what is social networking?

Not so easy to answer, right?

Well, that’s the problem.  It, in and of itself, isn’t the easiest thing to define yet at the same time is almost brutally simple.  Social networking is not trying to sell something.  Social networking is a new form of communication.  It’s the new cellphone, the new radio, the new TV, and the new dinner out with friends – all boiled in to one pot with about 8 billion other things mixed in just for fun.  I came across this video, and it’s really neat, take a second to watch it and then I’ll type some more:

Events like he described happen every single day online.  For years I’ve been reading fatcyclist.com, a blog about a guy who likes to ride bikes.  Here’s the reader’s digest version of a backstory: several years ago his wife was diagnosed with cancer and during that time Elden (aka “Fatty”) made it his mission to fight cancer.  He started raising money for Livestrong, and last year became the single largest Livestrong team.. ever, raising quite near $1 million.  It doesn’t end there.  Two weeks ago Fatty made a post in jest about trying out for Team Radio Shack (i.e. Lance Armstrong’s new team).  A week later he was in Arizona riding with the team (prelude, Part I, Part II), and had raised $120,000 for Livestrong and another charity, and gave away some absolutely drool-worthy prizes – just through his blog and social media.

How’d he do it?  He tells a genuine story, and then engages his readers.  It’s pretty simple, right?

You may remember even I’ve had some personal good fortune with blogging.  Have you checked Facebook lately?  No debates on the views of our President, or the bill being proposed but I just saw this:

blogpost2In 2 hours that’s about 5 thousand comments and “likes”.  Jeez, I thought I was a popular guy! I’m guessing the switchboard operators at the Capitol aren’t the biggest fans of Facebook right now.  By the end of the day he got his 1 million calls.

Here’s where we’re going with this social media thing.  What did both of these folks do?  They engaged the community and called them to action in a brilliant manner.  They don’t sell (necessarily, it could be argued in the President’s case), they are themselves.  What’s the summary?  Don’t sell a house on Facebook, don’t even sell yourself.  Post pictures of your cats, kids, grandkids, and post them often.  Connect with old friends and send them messages or write on their wells.  Comment on your friends’ status often.  Offer advice, have fun, but don’t be a salesperson – just be fun.

That’s the secret to social media.  Easy, right?

New Facebook Privacy Settings

Did you see the popup on Facebook about their new privacy settings?  Let’s put it this way, they aren’t so easy to understand.  In fact, I could make a doctoral dissertation on them – without even trying too hard.  Instead I HIGHLY reccommend you read the following two posts, and apply the settings as they suggest:

That’s all, folks!  Have a Merry Christmas!