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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Social networking is good for business.


This morning I had breakfast with a friend and mentor, Architect Jonathan Hess. He is the architect that designed the Indiana Museum of Art building addition amongst other notable buildings throughout the country.

One of the topics of our discussion was social networking and its relation to business.

During the last couple of weeks, thanks to CNN, I signed up for Facebook. I am now connected to just under 300 people I haven’t seen or heard from in more than 15 years. FB boasts some nearly 150 million users.

If you are not familiar with the networking culture online, there are several major sites that “link” people based upon their location, background information, or simply by requesting to be connected to someone.

There is Bebo, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn to name a few. As an entrepreneur, I have gained a new appreciation for these sites because not only am I permitted to connect with mere acquaintances, but I am also able to share information about myself that might encourage someone to do business with me.

Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook at 19 years old while trying to connect students on Harvard campus. What ensued was nearly half the campus being connected online and a new culture of online networking being established.In a blog posted by Zuckerberg he states, “networks offer a way of making the world more open and giving people a voice to express ideas and initiate change."

Now politicians, entertainers and entrepreneurs are connected on a sub communication level that is revealing of our time. Everyone benefits from the ability to reference someone else for a particular task or even suggest a potential connection between two or more individuals that have like goals.

People I don’t even know contact me about their business and the opportunity to possibly be retained for contract services. Social networking online is good for business!

I have always advocated that by now every person should have an email address or access to one. Wireless hot spots should be city wide. I would pay a small annual tax that allows for the community to be amongst countless others to be WiFi supportive everywhere.

Another friend and I thought it would be great to connect everyone from the City of Anderson, past and present, to link our communities brightest thinkers and also to align a safe place for dialogue that was more business related and highlighted the welfare of our town.

With this thought in mind we launched “The Gathering” (www.gatheringanderson.ning.com) with the goal of connecting 40,000 people anywhere in the world from our town to stimulate and encourage networking locally and abroad.

Imagine friends, family, and business acquaintances from all over the world that either lived in or passed through our city connecting in one place. I am curious as what that might do to the business of our community and our local economy.

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