I started slow with social networking. Like a lot of people, I began with myspace, then a youtube channel. I started to DIGG articles that caught my interest and I’ve had a personal blog for years. When I began to develop my business I joined linkedin, created a ryze page and accepted an invitation to naymz. I found another business on google through their merchant circle listing, so I posted a profile there and I quickly realized I was filling out profile after profile of the same information (or similar) and began to feel like I had stepped into quicksand. How could I possibly manage them all? How could I keep up with the networks that I created and NOT leave a picture or comment posted from a year and a half ago with cobwebs collecting in the corners of my profile? More importantly, if this strategy helped my business, how could I recommend a similar course of action for my clients to promote their own businesses? We have work to do and businesses to run – how many clients will realistically be able to kibitz online all day to stay “in the know” of their social networking communities?
This process may be getting easier. http://mybloglog.com and http://friendfeed.com are a couple of platforms that will help you manage all your social networking communities in the same place. I’ve recently taken advantage of the email signature created by mybloglog which allows you to add the icons of all your social networking services with links to those profiles at the bottom of each outgoing email. I LOVE that.
mybloglog also brought the FOAF file to my attention. This seems to be a separate file that acts as your universal profile. You have a picture, a bio, websites you author or participate in, social media services you belong to, all in one file. Wouldn’t it be great to use this file each time you join a new service? Just upload your FOAF file as though it were a picture and the service picks out the information and puts it into the appropriate fields? This would be too easy for spammers to create zillions of profiles I guess, but it sure would be easier for the small business owner. Maybe it’s already been done. I need to look into the applications of FOAF files some more.