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LinkedInLogo.pngby Frank Reed
While I am not old by any stretch of the imagination, I definitely fall on the “I did not grow up with the internet” side of the ledger. All that means is that I have needed to adapt how I do business to incorporate blogging and social media among other “unnatural” acts. In fact, for a good portion of my career I had to depend on newspapers for “up-to-date” business information and I have grown fond of several sources that have themselves had to adapt to the internet economy. The business section of the New York Times has been one of those trusted venues that have been able to bridge the gap well. One of my new media favorites is LinkedIn. Now, as a result of a partnership between LinkedIn and the NY Times I get the benefit of two favorites of the past and future as they combine forces to help me stay informed and connected all at once.


LinkedIn has hit a new media equivalent of a grand slam with this type of deal. Not only do they have the chance to get their brand in front of over 17 million unique users per month, who are at the very least well-educated and at best quite well-heeled, but they also get validation from an industry giant. When the whole social media phenomenon started to gain traction, there was little talk of it being legitimized by the traditional media powerhouses like the Times and the Wall Street Journal. LinkedIn has crossed a line that probably surprises many but is welcomed by folks like myself, who don’t relate to the aloof approach of MySpace and Facebook.
In fact, MySpace and Facebook may never get a real chance to be mentioned in the same breath as the icons of traditional media. In all honesty, I doubt either of these two high-profile new economy giants gets a serious second look from many of the readers of the New York Times. It’s just a bit too irreverent and often times downright silly to be considered legitimate to this demographic. Enter LinkedIn, with its focus on professional networking combined with its no-nonsense look and feel that allows grown-ups who have real jobs and actual careers to connect with each other in ways that were not imagined just a decade ago. If I sound like a cynic regarding the business value of MySpace and Facebook, then you are perceptive. I know there is value in branding and buzz for a specific demographic via these avenues, but as a true professional networking tool, I think the two darlings of the new economy just don’t cut it. I am sure that I will be accused of “not getting it,” but I am OK with that. LinkedIn and its approach make more sense to me and I can see the value there for my business needs.
Besides, it takes way too much time to keep all of these options up to date, so you are almost forced to decide where the greatest benefit will be for your particular business goals. I haven’t even mentioned Twitter and other buzz creators. If it feels like a lot to keep track of today, I can only imagine what lies ahead. It was just 10 short years ago that e-mail was revolutionizing how we communicate in business and life in general. Now e-mail is just “normal”. It’s almost mundane.
So what lies ahead? I don’t have a clue. I am not a prognosticator or a visionary. Heck, I wouldn’t even call myself an early adopter when it comes to new media. For those of you who have some kind of crystal ball, what do you see in the future for the next generation of social media and networking? Where will this go? I’m not sure, but by the time I have this new world communication and networking figured out, the rules will change. Could you please “tweet” me in the old marketers’ home when they do?


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2 replies to this post
  1. Great article Frank. There is without a doubt far more to the world of web 2.0 and social media than what seems to be apparent. One of the predominant things that I’ve heard from upper echelon decision makers–the C-suite if you will–is that things like facebook, myspace and twitter while having value for marketing are very poor at providing truly usable information from a business standpoint. There was (and may still be) a facebook group called something like ‘facebook4business’ that epitomized this. Was there any information truly relevant to the topic? case studies? interviews with decision making CEOs or CMOs? information that executives could actually use? No. What there was, was nothing more than endless ‘spam’ messages posted by people using the shotgun approach to sales.
    Now with that said, there are other ways of engaging and interacting in the web 2.0 world. And these types of social media initiatives can be, and are, of great use.
    While not on this precise subject, there’s a good piece at PR-Bridge about the limitations of having tunnel-vision when thinking about social media. http://tinyurl.com/6ge6eu

  2. Good article – I think about this a lot. I like to try to see where things could go in technology and the way the Internet will operate. Maybe I’m wrong, but I see the Internet going to virtual neighborhoods. Online 3dimensional neighborhoods where a visitor will move around the streets much like a video game – but may then enter real store fronts where they will be able to see real video of store clerks in real time. Instead of blogs with their static, sterile feel – visitors will be able to congregate and interact, also in real-time (for better user experience you may be required to purchase small green screen to set behind you) All forms of virtual environments – from the city street, to up in the mountains visiting nature stores – all the way to space to see the latest technology stores.
    The pursuit of the ‘better user experience’ seems as it could inevitably come back around to using real people, and serving customers / visitors on a unique person to person basis.
    With the prices of gas continuing to increase, we might even see weekend night clubs, and entire websites devoted to being server spaces with multi-environments, just so that people can hang out, network, etc.
    When it does become that way , dont forget to promote your local online business network gathering with full color brochures. :)
    Brochure Printing

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