Social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and all the rest may have seemed a little adolescent, juvenile, immature (you choose your favorite) just a few years ago but today they are undoubtedly integrated into the vast majority’s daily lives.
A few short years ago many folks, ahem, my age, didn’t see the value of subscribing to such online communities believing wholeheartedly that they were for high school and college kids who were living their reckless youth. Forget about the older generations (meaning, older than me) as they feared all sorts of catastrophic repercussions for such reckless online behavior. From simple online privacy intrusions, comparable to the 1980’s telemarketer calling at dinner time (drove my Dad nuts), to the idea that somehow your ATM pin number and credit card information would inexplicably spread throughout the world, the older generation had very little interest in this “fad”.
Well, perhaps these social networks are maturing beyond those awkward adolescent years because today, social networking communities have successfully integrated in to all generations and lifestyles. You can find a community for anyone regarding just about anything. I’m not talking about online groups with a few thousand participants – plenty of those too. I’m talking about communities, actually more like online cities and nations, with hundreds of thousands and even millions of citizens. This aint’ no fad grandpa. Online social networking communities are here to stay. They are becoming more sophisticated, advancing according to how we live our lives and prefer to network as noted by Nielsen Online in this article.
Dave Peck’s blog, NewMediaChatter sums it up nicely:
“…. social networks are here to stay and they are going to grow and change from the way we are using them today. The way we use them will evolve. Once the wheat is separated from the chaff (i.e when they have matured). Social networks will focus on what we need them for most. They will evolve from still being somewhat of a nice way to catch up and trade flair with friends to becoming even a more useful tool. A tool you will need in your everyday life. This will be the key. The possibilities are endless.”
So embrace your online community. Enjoy it, live it and help it advance the way you want it. And as you would live your brick and mortar lives use your common sense online too. There are always bad apples, bad ideas and bad deals. That’s life.
Bardorf Legal Marketing is a Massachusetts Internet marketing and advertising firm working with lawyers and law firms on enhancing their online effectiveness in the areas of SEO, paid search, social media, affiliate marketing, blog and website development, and targeted local search marketing campaigns.