Social Media Tools Are Extensions of the Handshake

handshake sculpture Sacramento It is thought that the handshake was originated during Medieval times. In order to show that each person wasn't carrying a weapon, two newly-acquainted people would grasp each other's empty hand upon meeting.  Afterward, a foundation of trust could be built.  Even though the reasons behind the custom are somewhat antiquated, the custom still remains. Though, I think it will be proven that, at the dawn of the 21st century, the handshake has been extended. Thanks to our hyper-connected society, Social Media is filling the role for introductory based trust-building. And why not?   In essence, it's used in a similar manner as the handshake was, so many centuries ago:  The ability to build trust between two newly acquainted people.  Using social media, people who may become potential stakeholders of yours  gain insight into who you are.  This type of reaching out can definitely help "indieprenuers", as most of us would rather do business with people who we are familiar with. Some of these tools, I'm sure you have either already heard of or are already using.  Two examples of those are sites like MySpace and Facebook. They are two of the most visited websites on the internet.  As such, we won't be going into them here.  But... These are the four social media sites that indie business people should get to know and use. 1. Twitter LEGENDmag Twitter Page The microblogging service and web darling of 2008, had a huge growth spurt to well over 5M users.  Twitter is the most talked about site on this list of four.   So we won't spend too much time delving into this service, but here are the basics.  The service allows users to send and receive updates. These updates, also known as tweets, are text-based and up to 140 characters in length.   It can be used from the site at Twitter, through third-party applications, or by cell phone texts. The great advantage to Twitter is that it's fast, to the point, and very inclusive. It's easy to let people know what you're about, to find out what they're about, and grow a meaningful relationship.   These online relationships can turn into face-to-face meetings, known as "tweetups". Of course, in-person meetings are a huge step towards forging a meaningful business relationship. 2. Friendfeed CJ Guest Friendfeed Friendfeed is all about collecting your online life and streaming it in one place. These days people don't just belong to one social media site.  With people belonging to multiple sites for blogging (like Wordpress), communities (like Facebook), status (like Twitter), bookmarking (like StumbleUpon), news (like Digg), commenting (like Backtype), photos (like Flickr), music (like Last.fm) and video (like YouTube) simultaneously, it's easy to begin to see the value of an aggregator like Friendfeed.  The site allows your friends, as well as, potential business connections to reference and access that lifestream in one place. After winning Best New Startup at this year's Crunchies, I think this social media aggregator will see a jump in popularity and will be this year's web darling.  This is a great service that makes it easy for newly acquainted people to get a more complete picture of what the other person is about (in an online sense, at least). As they communicate more, trust is forged, as well as the ability to do business.  Don't know your Digg, from your Delicious, from you Disqus???  No worries!  Those new to Social Media will find it especially valuable because Friendfeed organizes almost 60 social media services, by category, so it's easier to differentiate between them. 3. Seesmic {seesmic_video:{"url_thumbnail":{"value":"http://t.seesmic.com/thumbnail/XnfzzciVm3_th1.jpg"}"title":{"value":"Social Media Tools Are an Evolution of the Handshake "}"videoUri":{"value":"http://www.seesmic.com/video/V45u8nUUYd"}}} 4. LinkedIn CJ LinkedIn homepage About Social Media communities, it's said that Facebook is the backyard barbecue, MySpace is the bar, and LinkedIn is the office.  One visit to their site and this formality becomes evident.  A profile on LinkedIn will read like a resume, and it should, as a lot more HR people turn to sites like LinkedIn to recon online information about you, during the hiring process.  As in business, one builds their network through the number of connections that are made.  This network can be used to find jobs, or to find qualified candidates for a position you need to fill. This buttoned-up approach could turn off some indieprenuers, but make no mistake, the contacts to be found here are of the movers-and-shakers set.  It is more difficult to build this network compared to, say Twitter.  But, this approach, where a connection requires either a preexisting relationship, or the intervention of a contact of theirs, is intended to build trust among the users of LinkedIn. I've only listed those which I think are the most relevant four (beside Facebook and MySpace, of course). But there are a ton of other great social media sites out there. Are there some more deserving to be listed than the ones above? Let me know, I'm all ears!

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