I am certainly not old by any means – I’m only 31 (ok, almost 32). But starting this business has made me feel old when it comes to the seemingly endless number of ways you can now promote your business on the web. When I was in college, we had just started using email – and I’m pretty sure it was a DOS system. Now there are so many ways to get the word out, I feel like I need a PhD in IT to understand it all. Email was first on the horizon – a simple, but brilliant way to communicate with friends, family and business associates in the blink of an eye. Then came My Space (Does anyone still use that, by the way?). And born out of MySpace came Facebook, which as I recall used to be for college students? I remember when my brother-in-law was in college, how he raved about it. And I thought, “How stupid. Who’s going to use that?” Then Twitter flew in with even more ways for us to bother each other with endless, needless updates, just to say, “Hey, I’m going to the mall to buy some shoes. Isn’t that sooooo interesting???” And then I suppose that evolved into Foursquare, where you can “check-in” at the mall where you bought your shoes, in the hopes that one of your loser friends did the same, so that you can meet up with them…or maybe even get a discount on said shoes for being the biggest loser/mayor of Foot Locker, or 9West or wherever you happen to be. Tired yet? Now for the more business-minded folk there is LinkedIn, which is great if you’re looking for a job, or stalking/soliciting potential business, but personally I don’t use it much. And who can forget the wonderful world of blogging??? Without which you wouldn’t be reading this fascinating piece of social media satire. Blogging is really interesting to me. So many people out there are doing it, and at so many different levels: Some just do it for fun on the side, some do it to market their business, and some do it as a full time job, receiving LOTS of perks and freebies, just for writing a blog article. There are people out there who can sneeze, and 10,000 people say “bless you”, because they care so much about what you have to say…and then those same people go and buy hundreds of dollars of your ugly broaches, or your crocheted coffee cozies, or your Mister Potato Head earrings (I am not making this stuff up, people…have you seen Etsy??), just because you write a blog about what you made for dinner last night. I really don’t get it.
So what does this mean for those of us who grew up playing Foursquare, and not using it? It is really overwhelming! Do I use all of these crazy forms of social media, or just some of them? From what I understand, it seems to me that you will get NOWHERE with your business unless you are writing a blog, promoting yourself with a Facebook fanpage, and tweeting about God knows what on Twitter. But then you need to make sure to link Twitter to Facebook, because everything you put on FB should go on Twitter too, right? Or is it the other way around? Oh God, I’m sweating already. Then you have to blog regularly, because I guess that helps your SEO ranking? I don’t even know, I’m just repeating what other, more knowledgeable people have shared with me. Can’t they just have one website called TwitFaceBlogSquare, or something like that, where we can just do it all in one place? And maybe some real customer service people, who will actually take phone calls and answer emails to help us in the never ending quest to be more social? Because let me tell you, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to figure something out on Facebook or Twitter, but finding the answer is like finding a needle in a haystack, and once you realize that you’re not going to find the needle, you run around in circles trying to find a customer service email address or a phone number that doesn’t exist.
So for now I am just doing my best, learning as I go, and hoping that someone out there reads my blog or my Tweets or my Facebook updates, so I can feel cool. Because isn’t that what it’s really all about anyway? Feeling like someone out there likes you enough to read what you have to say? It’s funny because as I’m writing this, I am IM’ing with my husband who is now 30,000 feet up in the air, flying back from a business trip for his job – a job that markets 100% to people looking to advertise through the world of social media. There’s no escaping. Isn’t technology grand?