Written By: Emily Weinstein

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Fight Your Fear - Jump Into Social Networking and Marketing Online
By: Emily Weinstein

Article ID: 3759315
Article Submitted: February 14, 2010
Category: Internet and Businesses Online :: Internet Marketing
Article Word Count: 1109

Taking the Leap
In the last decade, social networking websites have boomed with interest and intrigue. Initially, the phenomenon grew amongst the technologically proficient youth, but it has slowly mushroomed in the last few years to involve the baby boomer generation. Even our parent's generation has come to see the value of this new marketing and networking perspective.

As a college kid, I have tried to stay up to date with what's "cool," while still attempting to maintain balance in my personal life. With many attempts to achieve stability amongst all my commitments, I have drowned in overwhelming anxiety at the thought of tackling all the mysterious Internet offerings. Needless to say, I have neglected venturing into the world of social networking out of fear. Fear that I would become addicted. Fear that I would have another thing to get to on my long laundry list of to-dos. Fear that I may not understand it. But mostly, fear of the future (aka every kid's fear at my age).

Living in the era of "not enough hours in one day," I have to admit I had always been tempted by the newly popularized websites, but knew that I could not afford to 'waste time' with silly things like status updates, or picture tweeting. I continually asked myself -- WHY would I cross the threshold into this unchartered territory? (This is when "the leap" occurred.)

A month ago, I would not have been able to answer that, but now after enrolling in a Digital Communication and Media Course at school, I have been forced to face my tribulation head on. I have been propelled into the world of Twitter, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, and Digg. Like most kids my age, I already had a Facebook. I knew how to upload photos. I could navigate myself around Google to find whatever information I was looking for. I knew that if I wanted to get textbooks for cheap, Amazon was definitely the place I liked to check first. You get where this is going.

With that being said, after diving head first into a new world, I am ashamed that I once feared all the opportunity. The social media online world is not a big, scary monster! In fact, social media, marketing and networking are the tactics Generation X will be expected to utilize as they delve into the working world. Fear will no longer be something excusable, because being adept will be required. With all of this being said, I encourage anyone - young or old - to embrace the challenge and embark on your own exploratory quest.

Some Good Places to Start
1. If you don't have a Facebook yet, get with it. It's 2010. Make one! Build your personal profile. Upload a photo album. Connect with old friends! Become a Fan of companies, brands, and organizations. Add new applications!
2. Make a Gmail account or a Yahoo account. Add your contacts. Link your old email to filter into this account. I promise you, after you make the switch, life will be easier.
3. Make a Twitter account. Sync your Gmail/Yahoo contacts to your Twitter. Start following your friends and look for products, services, brands or celebs that interest you. Twitter is a great tool for those thinking about starting a blog because it's just like mini-blogging. You can update your "followers" with what your doing or thinking about! You can also find Company Twitter accounts you like. A personal fav of mine is DailyHealthTips. Today's fact: "Green tea has anti-ageing properties. Switching to green tea can keep your skin youthful for a longer time."
4. Make a LinkedIn profile. Invite people to be your "connections." Build your business profile and network. Update your resume. Search LinkedIn and discover how many people you actually know using it! Find colleges, classmates, friends, etc.

Take It To The Next Level
5. Join social bookmarking sites. Digg, Stumbleupon, Delicious - are just a few of the good ones. Other one's worth looking into: YahooBuzz, Reddit, Mixx, and Propeller.
6. Explore! Cater these sites to your own interests. Take quizzes. Read articles. You will be totally surprised by how much you actually want to learn from these sites!
7. Gain an understanding of social media strategies and policies. I'd check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpIOClX1jPE and this article: http://123socialmedia.com/?3wqwZLtD to get a handle on the concepts.
8. Learn about social media monitoring. Discover as much as you can about the things that interest you. Open an account on hootsuite.com or cotweet.com. Set up columns, track key terms of curiosity.
9. Try using other sites like monitter.com, technorati.com, and google.com/alerts. Track conversations and find out if people are blogging/tweeting positively or negatively about your interests.

Discover SEO or Search Engine Optimization.
10. Learn how to get your website noticed. Figure out how to gain greater web exposure and visibility. Build on your business. Research SEO Book or CopyBlogger and discover the basics. Get advice from experts on link building, tools and programs, using uncompetitive key words, implementing emotional labor, adding human connection to your work, and how you can save time and money.
11. Understand website objectives. Get a strategy. Figure out how to get traffic to your site, brand creative, awareness building, and reputation management.
12. Make a social media campaign. Monitor conversation about your brand, service, interests, and ideas. Respond to questions, critiques, advice, and ideas. Contribute whatever you learn (valuable information and resourceful content) to others!
13. Understanding a strategy for keyword research, content development, inbound links, site structure/information architecture, on site optimization, and PR will be essential to starting your own blog. Use one of the sites mentioned above (Delicious or Digg) to find more on this!

Fly Free
As you begin to notice, there are so many possibilities on the web...and this is just the beginning. From here you have the abilities to do and learn anything. Take the advice I have given and run with it. Although I am still learning (and still just barley making a dent in these sites), I encourage everyone to fight their fears to test the waters. Start a blog. Join social networking sites. Look into social bookmarking. Track and monitor those things you are interested in. Use these mechanisms to spread the word about your ideas, services you trust, products you like, and brands you support. However, it is important to accomplish all of the following responsibly. Once you can effectively navigate yourself through these processes, you will realize all the possibilities you have right at your fingertips! Also, check out the class website: 
http://newmediadl.com.

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