Thursday, June 18, 2009

Social Media Breakfast #SMB14

This morning I had the opportunity to attend Social Media Overload - Making Sense of It All, one of a series of monthly Tweetups held in the Boston area for social media professionals and others to network and talk about social media issues. I found out about the event through @BostonTweetUp, a Twitter account that advertises these kinds of local meetings.

I attended because like many of you I'm interested in social media- its applications, its trends and its future. Held at Communispace Corporation, the event was divided into three sections- a meet-and-greet at the beginning, a presentation and some more meeting-and-greeting at the end.

Speakers are listed on the event page; I won't repeat that information here.

They spoke on various tools and trends in social networking, including the importance of
  • aggregation and integration of different social networking services,
  • knowing where you want to go as you set out in the social networking world,
  • experimentation with new social networking tools,
  • keeping control of your online brand.
There was also a little disagreement on, for example, whether or not one should shut down one's accounts on sites and services that no longer serve one's goals; some people felt that closing down such accounts prevented dilution of one's personal brand, and others felt that maintaining ownership of one's online real estate would prevent impersonation and the potential for fraud.

Personally, I'm on the fence on this issue. I have several social networking accounts for Boston Bibliophile that I do not actively use, but I am loathe to give them up because I want to keep my online "property" in my hands. On the other hand, if one went to one of these sites and saw that I had not updated it in over a year, one might get the wrong impression about my online activity.

There was also some discussion about how to "sell" social networking to people who are hesitant to expose themselves or their brand on the Internet, or who are simply unfamiliar with its benefits and uses. I blogged about this very issue last week, and the speakers made many of the same points I did.

One of the most striking points to come up was actually quoted from last week's 140 Characters Conference. This point was that Twitter and Facebook will soon account for more website referrals than Google searches; I didn't get the documentation on this claim but if it's true it's a very compelling argument for maintaining an active social network presence.

I found myself bubbling over with ideas and information; it was a great event and I strongly encourage attendance at these events in your area.

How do you use social networking? What do you see as its benefits and liabilities?