Today is the first day of the rest of your year. So what are you going to do with it? Will you look back on 2008, all fat and satisfied that youâ€™ve consumed as much as you wanted to. Will you regret not picking up that hot new thing when it was hot and new because you thought it was stupid?
Big or small, goals and objectives â€¦ okay, resolutions â€¦ are important guideposts for us as we plan our year. Whether itâ€™s work or play, we want to aim for something. Why not apply that same thinking to your social media world as well?
Here are five things you can do in 2008 to improve both your own experiences and that of others in social media.
1. Add A Tool
Weâ€™re certainly in a buyerâ€™s market for social media tools. From Twitter to Utterz to Seesmic to Jaiku and on and on, there are some fantastical software and systems out there to enhance your connection to the web or others here. If you have a blog, these tools can make a tech-tard look like a Gates prodigy. So resolve to find one that will make your blog, or your social media experiences better and go learn it.
Iâ€™m thinking Seesmic might be the one for me in 2008 since I want desperately to add more video to what I do at SME. But there are a handful of others Iâ€™ve not touched that I want to. Tell me which one youâ€™re most interested in learning in the comments.
2. Get To Know Your Followers
This one might seem weird at first, but find a person who has followed or friended you on one of your social networks â€¦ Twitter, Digg, Mixx, etc., â€¦ and send them a note. You could compliment them on their submissions, tell them how much you enjoyed a blog post they recently filed or just say, â€œHey! We donâ€™t really know each other so I thought Iâ€™d ask. Where you from? What do you do for a living? Howâ€™d you find me?â€
In 2007, a young man and rising blogger from
3. Network Socially
If youâ€™ve read my previous posts about social networking vs. networking socially, you know the latter of those terms is how I refer to meeting someone face-to-face rather than online. In 2007, I discovered Brian Wallace of NowSourcing lived right here in Louisville. We met for coffee one day, have had lunch and will may even start working together on a project or two soon. So heâ€™s not just an avatar and a name I know on the computer.
So find someone near you â€¦ either a blogger, Digg user or even Facebook friend you found through one of your groups. Arrange to meet for lunch one day. Relationships online entertain us. Relationships offline sustain us.
4. Show your parents how to use RSS feeds
Okay, so it doesnâ€™t have to be your parents. Maybe itâ€™s your boss, spouse, friend or co-worker, but pick someone who surfs the web a lot and introduce them to the new web browsing experience. RSS feeds and my reader save me over an hour a day in bouncing from website to website. Thatâ€™s an hour more I can be productive elsewhere. Giving the gift of time to someone, while at the same time introducing them to a social media tool, will at least give you the warm and fuzzies.
And keep in mind that not all people need RSS readers. My wife, for instance, visits three websites: Yahoo for mail, Amazon for shopping and eBay because sheâ€™s nuts. She doesnâ€™t even read my blog. Because her interest in surfing is minimal, she has no use for an RSS reader. However, if anyone wants to provide her with additional revenue to supplement her Amazon.com credit card, I will be forever grateful.
5. Become a member of a new community
Choose a brand you like. Now go out and see if theyâ€™re smart enough to have a social media presence. Maybe they have a blog, forum or message board. Perhaps they have some sort of customer rewards or relationship program where you can communicate with the brand. Join up and participate. See how they do things and provide feedback to make them better.
Reach out to the brand, but also see if you can find a way to reach out to fellow consumers. If they donâ€™t have a platform to encourage community, tell them so. The only way brands are going to go from â€œmake this viralâ€ to it-getters cultivating community is if their brand fans tell them to do so. Be one. Encourage community.
I am a huge fan of Sony home entertainment equipment. My HDTV and surround sound/DVD system is Sony. To date, I have no idea if they have an online community or consumer feedback presence out there. In 2008, I intend to find out, join and engage folks in conversation about the brand. And Iâ€™m doing so because I dig my Sony home entertainment stuff. Not because they pay me to or I have any vested interest otherwise.
Resolutions give us measurable guideposts for improving ourselves in the new year. The personal ones (losing weight, exercising more, etc.) and those that are professional (get a promotions, increase your sales numbers, etc.) are sometimes difficult, none-too-fun or truly beyond our control to achieve. But small ones in areas of your life you find invigorating (for me, social media and networking on- and off-line) can help make your new year seem very productive, regardless of the outcomes of the big goals.
Tell us what new tools youâ€™re going to learn, who youâ€™re going to reach out to and what brands you want to engage in 2008 in the comments. And if you want to help pay my wifeâ€™s Amazon bill, email me directly. ;-)
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