Social media is creating the online villages, towns and cities of the future. Instead of a geographic center of town, each is centered around common interests.
Our new virtual realtionships can be broken down into 3 types of communities:
- Cities hold millions of people, and so do large social media platforms. Belonging to a social network of Mom’s is like hanging out in a bustling city center where there’s generalized conversation and a wide variety of things to see and do (or click on). We can easily weave in and out of conversations that interest us, collect information and take or leave what applies to our particular likes.
- Towns are smaller interest groups and could be focused around social media platforms like Facebook or Flickr. The connection exists because of a specialized interest and wonderment in what others are doing and how they’re doing it.
- Villages are where I see the majority of average users taking online relationships offline. The village conversations are more interesting and memorable. Here is where you can develop a strong bond of trust, sharing interests and conversing more frequently. Chris Brogan’s Cafe-Shaped Conversations easily occur here and segue into offline friendships and face to face business.
Villages are Where Small Businesses Flourish
Social networking in the online village is ideal for entrepreneurs and small business owners who market services locally. As more people from a variety of local businesses connect online, like-minded people living in your general geographic area will begin to congregate. I believe you’ll begin to see a cross-section vaguely reminiscent of the old village services.
A village where amongst general conversation, Joe the butcher will twitter specials, Sue the Realtor will invite you an Open House using images posted on Flickr, and your favorite pub will announce the entertainer for the evening through Facebook. These reciprocal relationships with local business owners will occur naturally and benefit our business as we connect, build trust and expand our sphere of influence within our new communities.
Enjoy Your Business Again
The ultimate benefit of this type of networking is that business will be FUN since we’ll be working with people we like and trust. We also have a wonderful opportunity to build stronger bonds within our business relationships.
If you’re not sure how to get started on developing your own village, let Shannon Paul be your tour guide.