Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Social Networking thru E-Media

Everyone's talking about it, or twittering about it, or texting about it. If you're not, then you are clearly outside the demographic. What is this demographic? From what I can see, it's anyone over the age of 5 and under the age of 85.

It began, not that long ago, with teens and their texting (or text messaging as some of you older folks might recognize the term). Once teens fully embraced their birth-given right to own their "own" cellphones, they quickly found a way to make them their own, not just something that mom or dad handed down to them. That was the birth of text-messaging. It occurred about the same time the Blackberry was creating Black/crackheads amongst their parents.

I've spent the past few weeks experimenting with e-media. I've fb-ed, twittered, blogged, texted - you name it, I think I've done it. Haven't quite figured out the big deal about Twitter, but I'll keep an eye on it. My biggest problem is keeping my message to 150 characters or less. (Good thing an editor reviews my printed comments.) Somehow with Twitter, I've already picked up 18 followers, most of whom I don't know.

Facebook is very interesting to me. It began as a way for high school and college students to communicate effectively and easily, and to include photos - something that was missing in MySpace. I read something the other day that said the 40-somethings (my age group) was the biggest group of people on it now, and that people in their 60's and 70's are really starting to drive the average age of the user up. My 77 year old mother has a fb account and uses it to keep up with photos of her kids and grandkids. But, she uses it much differently than her kids and grandkids do. And that's an important point to consider if you are thinking of using fb for viral marketing.

I've created a facebook account for both my magazines, TechShop and Tomorrow's Technician. And I've seen plenty of companies create their own facebook pages as well. There are companies like Sharpie, Crayola Crayons, Peeps, Chicago Pneumatic, Timken, CarMix; and all kinds of schools with pages. I suppose it's a progression from the corporate website. It provides a link to a younger crowd, but it takes a different management style than a traditional website.

I'm still trying to figure out how to use facebook well, in a corporate setting, and I have to admit - don't have any answers yet. But if you have a facebook account, please check out Tomorrow's Technician (both the "person" and the group, and the TechShop group.) Let me know what you think!

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