Why do people bother with MySpace?

I’ll tell you why: people can make connections and communicate and open dialogue. By “adding friends” and building your space, and adding multimedia, and using the tools on there, you can establish connections.

The benefit of using this social sharing sites (Flickr, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIN, Upcoming.org, etc, etc, etc) is that you get a different, digital connection to people. Some are people you’ve not met that you could stand to meet. Some are people you WISH you could connect with, but don’t have direct access. Others will come in and find you without you even doing a thing. (These last ones are often the best, because their quirky ways make for even more energized connections later on.)

Oh, and every one of these sites, properly used, adds to Google juice such that people can find you easily, should you want to be found. My MySpace page refers people to my primary blog, as well as my job and other things I want to highlight. My accounts on Flickr and other sites show up fairly prominently in Google, adding ways that people who are looking for me can find me, and open conversation channels to me.

Here are some thoughts and tips:

  • Tidy Up Your Blog- Make sure there’s clear contact info for you on your blog. Add a picture of yourself, if you can. Personal is the new black. Give email contact, and if you’re daring, give out your phone number, so people can truly reach out if they’d like.
  • Communicate Who You Are- Through sites like MySpace, that allow for pictures, movies, audio clips, and more, you can build quite a colorful scrapbook of who you are and what matters to you. This helps people realize that you’re a lot like them. Ditto Flickr. My Flickr photos show you that I’m a dad, that I love my family, but that I travel around for lots of events, as well. It shares a story.
  • Use Twitter to be Ultra Current- Twitter is a neat “what are you doing right now?” tool. You build an account, add friends, and then you can send updates from the web, from your IM client, and from your phone via SMS. There’s a badge (a little piece of code) you can add to your blog or MySpace to let people not using Twitter see your updates. And you can send direct messages to anyone on your friends list. (Another way to reach people).
  • List Events using Eventful or Upcoming.org- I’ve used both. This tool lets you build events, invite people, and then let folks track them. You can build profiles, including friends lists, so that when your friends are going to events, you’ll be aware, and you can decide if the event suits you. Kind of a “Don’t leave me home while you have fun” tool. I think this would be useful for people attending conferences, or who have lots of meetups for their industry.
  • Fill out your profiles- On all these sites, there are places to throw in profile information. If you can, link back to your main website or blog. Also add pictures where you can. It allows a more human connection. Give as many thoughts and ideas as to why someone should connect with you as possible, and it will improve your ability to gather people to your cause.
  • Comment on blogs you like often- This is another tip to get people connected to you via social tools. If you’re a long time lurker, introduce yourself. It’s great to see who’s reading a blog (believe me), and often, interesting friendships, and even business exchanges, occur.
  • Don’t forget YouTube- YouTube is one of the most misunderstood pieces of software out there. It’s not TV. It’s a video sharing platform. Record whatever you want. But here’s a trick: why not record a video saying who you are, what you’re into, or what you do for work. Why not make it interesting, funny, or relevant? Post it, and then post the link to the video on your blog and your MySpace. A video greeting, so to speak, does wonders for adding some dimension to who you are.
  • Try out the new stuff- It’s the first of the year. Let’s make this an idea to consider for 2007. Why not try out the new things you hear about? Maybe not EVERY single one, but why not give the “early adopter” role a try for a while. You’ll meet more interesting people, and people end up being the core of what you need to do in most businesses. True?

What this has to do with hacking life

A lot of what we think about at the beginning of the year involves self-improvement. We think about losing weight, about finally implementing David Allen’s book, about making the 8th Habit our most important habit. But these are all standalone, non-social goals for the most part. They’re all part of being READY to do bigger things, but they often force our eyes and hearts inward.

I believe the exact opposite should happen early on in the year. BUILD. Build collaborations and connections. Give people the ability to connect with you. And that will become a force multiplier. Know what you bring to the picnic, and then see who else is coming. I think you’ll find the results interesting.

Chris Brogan keeps a blog at [chrisbrogan.com]. He is Community Developer for Network2, a guide to the best Internet TV, and to a conference in March called Video on the Net. If you want to connect with Chris on most any software mentioned above, his username is: chrisbrogan.

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