The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013Have you been blissfully caught off guard by all of these new and fancy tech trends that are saturating the marketplace? Wonder which tech trends will stick around or which should be buried in the desert along with lost copies of Atari cartridges? Yeah, I hear you. Personally, I don’t have a whole lot of time to be perusing and checking out these new apps and gadgets all on my lonesome, so usually it’s on the suggestion of a friend or maybe a rogue reader with a keen eye that wants to get my opinion. So I took a look over some pretty big tech trends that have made a big impact on 2013 so far. Take a look and add your own! You know, be interactive!

Tech Trends: The Apps We Love and Hate

Snapchat: So some Stanford University students got together and pieced together an app that would allow the user to take brief snapshots from one second to 10 seconds and, then they allegedly fade off into the ether, never to be seen again. Currently, the demographic model is full of tweens, teens, and baby-adults below the age of 25, which puts Snapchat in a weird position. Anyone I know over the age of 25 who owns Snapchat is adorably questionable, at best, or they’re curious just like most of us are. What does it mean? What’s the reason? Users can take lurid pictures, embarrassing selfies, and revealing portraits and think that they will vaporize the second they will it, yet dozens of programs on the Google Play store say otherwise.

Just searching “Snapchat” shows that obviously an exploit exists, as well as reports that those images of yours don’t exactly leave. No, in fact they are saved for at least 30 days anyhow, so obviously some smart little jerks have figured out how to save your preciously stupid brain hiccups that made you take snaps of your junk and post them up for mere seconds. Can someone screenshot it? Sure they can. What does the company think of this? Obviously it finds it deplorable but — hey — you’re the one trusting an app with your naughty bits, so who is really at fault here?

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013
As you can see, Snapchat makes up only one application on this list of tech trends, and every other search brings up its dubious little screenshot thieves.

Vine and Instagram Video: Founded in 2012 and then quickly acquired by Twitter, Vine’s a nifty little program that helps you make and produce six-second videos that are easily condensed and posted up on social media without the huff and puff of most social media outlets like Facebook and such. Instagram would release its own quickshot video section to its app that allows up to 15 seconds as well as your normal Instagram filters. The fascinating thing about this is what people are doing with these videos.

People like Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, used Vine to post the most popular reaction on Twitter to the Red Wedding episode of her show, acted out in mere seconds by herself. Folks are getting creative in thrilling ways and using Vine and Instagram to show it off, and it’s never been more interactive of a world as when you give the people a way to let you see through their eyes, one sepia filter at a time. Some tech trends are exciting in simple ways.

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones fame gives six seconds of fan reaction on Vine.

Candy Crush Saga: Who would’ve guessed that a candy-coated, brightly colored Bejeweled clone would so easily capture the hearts of people all around the world? But nobody can stop it. I had yet to have witnessed this confection that developers at King came up with in April of 2012 and less than a year later, it surpassed FarmVille in social media games. What was doing it? Was it how quick it is to pick up such a simple concept with adorable, harmless visuals? Possibly.

It might have something to do with the fact it isn’t a required time sink like most of those other “Ville” games happen to be. When you don’t need to constantly tend to crops, check on your city, or any other arguable waste of time, it opens you up to be able to enjoy something more at random. With only a set amount of turns, most levels don’t take long to complete. And while you are only allotted a certain amount of retries within a time period, it’s not such a bad thing to be told to back down and go do something else until you have more opportunities to bite into a level. Not too bad for a brand new title to bring in nearly $700,000 a day in revenue, is it? Quite a bit of money people are spending on those truffles, you know?

Real Racing 3: Is it possible we’re doing too much with our smart phones? Are they making us dumber? Are they making us think we have any business playing a racing game on our phones? Sure, I can understand tablets that are wide enough to handle and/or appreciate a game of this kind of high-definition, but I know people who are turning on their phones and syncing up to this game on an almost daily level.

Why are we doing this, hmm? Released in February of this year, Real Racing 3 absolutely wowed critics with its beauty and rightly so; the game has some incredible presentation, offers in-app purchases for vehicles and upgrades, and does what most free-to-play app games do but with the splendor and visuals of something you’d see on our current-generation gaming consoles. So it’s beautiful and it’s making money, but do we need it on our phones? On our tablets, sure, but our phones?

Playing this on my phone felt wrong and awkward, yet I was still compelled to play it just so I could see the visuals some more. Cars are crisp and beautiful, tracks are well laid-out, and this game could easily be something I’d purchase for $15 on the PlayStation Network and race against my friends. Instead? Phone. I’m stuck with it on a phone. Makes no sense.

Soundtracking: Bringing a “check in” approach to your music collection, Soundtracking is like setting a playlist for your day, not ahead of time but as your day happens around you! Listening to a song and it’s speaking to your current mood? Soundtrack it and the app will either listen to the sound around you if you’re listening out loud, grab it off of your phone, tablet, or Spotify, or you can search for the song you’re thinking of at that moment and let it out on Facebook and Twitter.

Maybe people will dig your vibe and follow your Soundtrack, opening up brand new audiences to music at the touch of a button. Honestly, of all the things listed here in this article, I think Soundtracking is a tech trend that has turned me on the most with its quick, reflexive interface, its smart lingo, and its no-frills desire to share music with everyone I know.

The Delightful and Dubious Online Tech Trends of 2013
On Soundtracking.com, you can find some of the trending Soundtrackers today, sharing music from all over the world!

Tech Trends: Social Media and the New Niche Machines

While some of these tech trends are certainly not new, they’ve either faded into the background or blown up more recently and I’m thinking it has to do with the user experience. We’ve all changed, haven’t we? With more freedom comes far more responsibility, and when you let the world at large play with websites like Tumblr, Vine, and Instagram, we all become a little more in tune with the audience we built.

The lot of us have a song to sing aloud and when we know we have all these freedoms to say what we want when we’re doing it without the constraints of Facebook or MySpace (do people still use that?) to hide their pretty words and take away their creative process.

Tumblr: With a dashboard consisting of seven buttons sprawled out at the top of your page, you can get to ushering forth your message as quickly and evenly as possible. The tech trend of hashtags are like the private little Reddit pages that you keep all to yourself, pleasantly seeking what other users are creating, talking about and re-blogging from their minds or from the minds of others.

Microblogging has gone where bigger blogs couldn’t go, and that’s where Twitter sent them. When WordPress is too heavy and meant for those intensely dedicated to the words and audience at large, Tumblr just wanted to see what you had to say and without the pretense or complication. In June of this year, Yahoo! bought Tumblr and, as of August 8th, Tumblr hosts more than 100 million blogs. Not too shabby for the place that people too chatty for Twitter go in order to get their heavenly Internet sermons to the masses, be they photos, gifs, or rants about the upcoming season of BBC’s Sherlock.

Fitocracy: Combining the love of reaching levels and achieving goals in video games, Fitocracy is among tech trends that award users with achievements to boast for every fitness landmark they reach in goals set forth by fitness instructors, professional nutritionists, and more from all over the world. Completing quests always seemed like something out of World of Warcraft and those tech-savvy yet health-seeking individuals could do well to give Fitocracy a try and see if it fits, so to speak, with their trophy-requiring lives.

Does it work? Sure, dozens swear by it, and my feed is littered with wonderful achievements and fitness peaks that friends of mine worked hard to get and boast about with pride! See, getting some fun recognition doesn’t have to be reserved for video games only, but when you pump out some of those crunches before work in the morning, too!

Klout, Pinterest, and LinkedIn?: Are we still doing this Klout thing? Are people still “pinning,” and is anyone actually checking out their LinkedIn activity? To me, Klout always seemed like a place where people impregnated each others’ feeds with self-importance and over-inflated corporate sponsorship. Talk too much about some beverages and someone will consider you an “Influencer” so much so that, before you know it, bitches be offering you tea bags as a Klout Perk. Yeah, that happens. That happened to me. Some tech trends are kind of lame.

Pinterest?: It’s Tumblr for those without the attention span to push forward and send their own message so much as re-pin someone else’s neatly — it’s like scrapbooking on the Internet. It came and went and died a death when people realized the simplicity of other sites and how we could easily tell our stories outside of just repeated imagery on a corkboard.

As far as I know, not a single person has actually gained a job and/or done anything other than show off the people they know on LinkedIn. An ever-growing resume online, it becomes a quick study in Facebook for the workplace and nobody should be offering jobs to people based on some delightful little blurbs and resume-esque coding on a website. No, we need to see it as social media only and something that holds the same weight as Facebook because we can still, easily, control our message there.

Hell, I haven’t logged into my main LinkedIn page in years and if anyone were to look that up, they’d think I hadn’t worked at a new place since 2007. Is that true? Sure isn’t. However, when you look me up on Google, it’s one of the first pages you see. Now is that anything you should be regarding heavily when it comes to your professional career? No, because it’s still just another page on the search engine that can come and go with the fleeting fancy of the average human’s attention span (and fickle tech trends).

Tech Trends: So What’s Next?

It’s leaving a lot of possibility for the upcoming applications and social media mavens when you see just where we’re sitting now with tech trends, isn’t it? With rumors swirling about an Amazon branded gaming console akin to the recently crowd-funded OUYA, we could see integration with our current tech that brings not just gaming applications, but social media applications to a brand new front. It’s always been a cumbersome thing to take part in the Android world from the comfort of your television and such, but maybe that day is soon to pass.

The world is brimming with technology and its naturally forming tech trends, and the biggest and brightest are yet to come. Once we’re all wearing eyeglass smart phones and wearing small hard drives as watches, none of us are going to look back at 2013’s early half and think that the tech trends going on were anything other than a flash in the pan. We’re going places, kids. Look out.

What apps and websites have caught your attention this year and what are you hoping to stumble upon before 2014 rears its glorious head on us all? Sound off below and share your best guesses for future tech trends with the lot of us!

Header images thanks to Petr Kratchovil and Silviu Firulete — modified by the author. Application images sourced from respective sites listed.

How to Avoid Social Media Overload

Social Media Overload and How to Avoid It
Social media overload! Too much! Too much! [Image by Karl Newark]
Just a few short years ago, there were only a couple of social networks that mattered. Facebook and Twitter were pretty much where everyone hung out. It was pretty easy to keep both sites updated and keep your finger on the pulse of what each site had to offer. As more people have become social and more companies have realized just how valuable those connections are, social networks have popped up everywhere. Gone are the days of simplicity in sharing. Welcome to the time of social media overload.

I’m Experiencing Social Media Overload! Hand Me a Flag!

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Google Plus. Pinterest. YouTube. Reddit. Tumblr. LinkedIn. The list goes on and on — and on. Infinity. I’m getting tired just trying to list the ones deemed important these days. I have profiles on them all, much as you likely have. Somehow, I maintain them all. Once in a while, I even find the time to update a few. Hand me a white flag. I admit it: I’m burned out. Overwhelmed. Overloaded. Stick a fork in me — I want to be done.

Yes, that sounds a tad dramatic. I feel dramatic when I stop to think for even 10 seconds about trying to keep up with all of these spaces. I adore the connections I have made, the jobs I’ve landed due to these places, and the knowledge I have been blessed with along the way. But geez, at what point do we decide that social media is taking far too much time out of our lives?

I’m at that point, but I realized something yesterday: there is no good reason to overload myself. Why do I feel the need to be everywhere? What am I really going to miss if I’m not spread so thin? I have to be on those aforementioned networks all day every day for work, on more than one personal/company account. Is it any wonder I find myself dragging at the thought of then logging in as little old me?

In the Words of Lamarr: “sssSTOP IT!”

Feeling the strain of social media overload? That’s right. Stop. Walk away. Go so far as to deactivate a few of your profiles, or allow them to go stagnant while still keeping your username. I promise it won’t hurt. You won’t lose any jobs, friends, or information. You will still be able to do and have these things, but you’ll also have your sanity once again. There is honestly no good reason to keep beating your head against a proverbial wall while trying to maintain some “presence” on a gazillion sites. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. Yes, it’s a good idea to make a basic profile if keeping a particular username is important to you or your company. That does not mean you have to actually build out the profile and maintain it.

But I Have to Be Where My Customers/Fans/Followers Are!

Well yes, in a sense you need to be there. But you honestly don’t have to be everywhere. Keeping only a couple of well-run social properties and pointing to them from a central location (such as your blog or website) and cross-linking in your information/about sections will allow people to find you. How many customers do you think you’ll gain if you try to jump onto 12 websites instead of four? Seriously? I’d stake my entire professional reputation on the fact that the number is far less than you think.

Keep It Simple, Silly!

Whether you are reading this as a person who just wants to have fun online, a social media manager for a company or someone who wants to make connections in order to get ahead in the workplace, you need to slow your roll — or you’ll fall victim to social media overload! In any of these instances, you need to be on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ at the very least. In many cases, it’s also a good idea to be on Pinterest. The other networks have benefits, yes, but you do not have to be there beyond keeping a landing place so your name is reserved.

Okay, So Where Should I Be?

I’m so glad you asked! I already mentioned “the big three” and Pinterest. In my humble opinion, you need nothing else — with one exception. LinkedIn. If you are online in a professional capacity of any type, you must have a well-maintained profile on LinkedIn. I’m not going to bore you with the reasons why. There are many guides to tell you why and how to work this website. Just trust me. Do it.

The only way to avoid social media overload is to simply stop overloading yourself. Rip that bandage off and breathe a sigh of relief. You’ll thank me for it within one day. Pinky swear.

All-In-One Social iPhone App – Stroodle

Stroodle brings all the features and conversation pieces of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn into one simple application. This free application combines multiple services into a clean and easy to use app, without having to struggle through multiple apps. Stroodle is user friendly and is by far the best all-in-one app that I have found.

iPhone and even iPod touch owners have most likely started finding their favorite apps and for the power users like me, this is one app to have in your arsenal. There is no question that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the most popular iOS social media applications. The only problem is switching between the applications when having multiple conversations over the three social networks.

I regret to say that the only limitation of the app is that your first status update to any of the social media sites will post an advertisement at the end promoting the app. This is a one time thing and it is well worth it to use this app and all its features. As like any free app as well this is ad-supported with only a small banner ad at the bottom of the application. The ability to cross-post updates to the three supported social media sites and being able to bring everything you need to communicate with users in the app is amazing and puts it above the rest.

The clean user interface of Stroodle is nice on the eyes and offers little to confuse the user off all its setting and interactivity. The ability of this app is far and many, first of which allows you to view all of your connected profiles in one long continuous feed or filter out by search and network that you are looking at. Facebook features include Like, Comment, or Post on the user’s Wall as well as view comments on an existing post. LinkedIn features the ability to “Like” a status update, Reply, and Message the user. To pull up these features per network you just click on the status update and under the original message are buttons to interact with the update.

The biggest feature Stroodle boasts is the ability for the application to post to your connected social networks all at once to eliminate the time to copy and paste the update to each service. This allows for your message to get more impressions and get you connected more quickly with your community.

For the time being, Stroodle does not send any push notifications and requires you to enter into the app to see what’s new.

Download and try it from the iTunes App Store.

LinkedIn Share Button

The social network LinkedIn, which boasts itself as a business-oriented social network has launched a new feature, introducing the LinkedIn Share Button. Just the the Twitter and Facebook share buttons it lets LinkedIn users share content to their connections within LinkedIn. With the LinkedIn Share Button users are able to easily share content with their professional network.

There are currently 3 different versions of this button: vertical with a share counter, horizontal button with the counter, or a horizontal button with no counter.

Adding the button to a site or blog is easy, publishers choose one of those options and paste a couple of lines of code into their site and the button now shows up on the page. These buttons are available at LinkedIn’s Publishers page.

This update is apart of a long line of new features LinkedIn has been releasing to their users. Just this last Spring, LinkedIn launched several new sharing options, making it easy for users to attach links to status updates, and re-share links as well as edit and delete posts.

The LinkedIn Share Button is one of the last steps to bring LinkedIn up to par with Facebook, at least as far as content sharing options goes.

Although we should keep in mind that a lot of the current social media resources use this same type of features including Facebook, Digg, Twitter, StumbleUpon to name a few.

Are You Still Using MySpace?

Seb asked me in chat recently if I actually use MySpace. I have an account there, yes. I actually even receive tens of visitors there each month. I admit that I really don’t even USE the site. Do you?


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From all appearances, it seems as though MySpace has turned into almost a joke. They are working hard to rebrand the site and turn it into something unique that people will want to use again. However, I just don’t see it happening. When they first came up with the customizable pages, everyone loved it. We could make our pages look however we wanted… until it got out of control. Everywhere you look there are blinky things, strange graphics and comment pictures. It’s overload of a very bad kind, and people who actually care about such things seem to be the only ones using the site still.

Everyone I talk to who takes part in social media profile sites is on Facebook. LinkedIn is ranked up there as another site people feel the need to have a complete profile on. If I mention MySpace, I get strange looks or outright cynical snorts.

What are your thoughts? Are you still using MySpace?

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Older Netizens Flocking To Social Networks – Are Their Kids Responsible?

When I was living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, on the California side, I had a teaching journey between 1998 to 2006. I call it a journey because many of the people who took my computer classes became clients as well as close friends. I was teaching community education classes on how to use the computer from beginning to advanced classes. I also taught classes on surfing the Internet, emailing, Microsoft Word, Excel and also Quicken. The classes were mainly designed for seniors, who expressed one common reason why they were taking the classes. Their kids had given them a computer and wanted their parents to get on the Internet so they could send email. Even as I type these words the thought of emailing sounds ancient. LOL

In a recent PC World article it stated that according to a recent PEW report. surfers over the age of 50 have increased their social networking presence. The article states that:

The sudden change in attitudes towards social media among our oldest surfers likely has a lot to do with its saturation among younger demographics. 86 percent of those between 18-29, and 61 percent of those 30-49 are now participants, and the older demographics are likely the parents and grandparents of those younger users.

With families becoming ever more spread out, using Facebook or Twitter is likely the best and cheapest way to stay in touch. In addition, these older users may be executives and using a professional social network such as LinkedIn as part of their careers as well.

E-mail is still heavily used in the over-50 crowd, differentiating it from younger users who have by and large turned to social networking instead to communicate.

So once again, the children of seniors have prodded their parents into joining social networking sites.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – PC World

DoYouBuzz

Let’s face it, the traditional resume is dead. Employers have seen them for many decades and they’re ready for something new. Many companies are leading the charge in this area by finding potential job candidates and having them communicate their qualifications and experience in different ways. You’d probably be surprised by how many employers research potential employees on a search engine and use what they find as the resume for an individual. Since resumes are clearly moving online, it makes sense for you to have an online resume that does a great job of representing you. DoYouBuzz is the next generation of the online resume.

This service can import your LinkedIn profile information, so you won’t exactly have to start from scratch. Resume design is important, and DoYouBuzz offers customizable themes and templates for you to use. Your resume can get greater search engine visibility, but at the same time, if you want to keep it a little more private, then the privacy options will allow you to do that. One of the worst parts about applying for jobs is not knowing what’s going on, but with DoYouBuzz, you’ll know how many people have been looking at your resume, and if the line is going up, then you should be in good shape.

MerchantCircle

Business professional networking is an important yet sometimes neglected aspect of social networking. Business professionals who invest time and energy in tools like LinkedIn can have great results, and these results show that the tools are legitimate and valuable. While the practice of business professionals networking online is nothing new, businesses on their own aren’t always included in the fun. Resources like the Yellow Pages may give you some basic business information, but MerchantCircle makes business listings social.

If you have a business, then it would be worth your time to see what kind of exposure MerchantCircle can give you. As you would expect, all of the basic business information is here, but it’s the social functionality that helps the listings go above and beyond. For example, Facebook integration is present, customers can write reviews, a blog can be created, special coupons can be shared, and so on. As a business owner, you can also share your expertise by responding to questions from potential customers. This enables you to position yourself as a thought leader, which will bring benefits for years to come.

dlvr.it

Back when RSS was becoming very popular, you were all set if you offered your content through an RSS feed. RSS was the hot thing, and people were subscribing to feeds left and right. RSS is still an essential technology, but the way in which people access and subscribe to content is expanding. These days, more and more Internet users are spending time on social networks, and because of this, companies and publishers are making sure that their content is easily accessible through these channels. A service called dlvr.it enables you to make your RSS feed social in no time at all.

If you have a feed, you can have the latest updates automatically delivered to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn through the delivery services of dlvr.it. This means that you can just focus on the actual content instead of the process of posting it to all of your social accounts. Not only does dlvr.it distribute your content, but it also helps you to measure your social network success by tracking engagement and reach.

LinkIn Gets A Twittering

There should be an image here!So what is with the cooperation between Twitter and LinkedIn. At its core, it does make sense. After all, both are used for networking and can be used effectively by professionals across the globe. What remains unclear, is just how effective this marriage of the two services can actually be?

Then there is the matter of once again, over-taxing an already double-booked Twitter. As it is today, the service still fails far too often for my taste. Even with recent performance improvements, I think Twitter is still too vunerable to problems for it to be tied into something such as LinkedIn.

At the end of the day, I think that they need to get a handle on their outages, give more resources to the API then let’s talk about a tie in with services such as LinkedIn. But this is just my perspective, your opinions will likely vary.

UnHub

Would you feel comfortable saying that you have an online presence? That sounds a little metaphysical, but if you have a Web site, blog, or Facebook account, then you have an online presence. In fact, there are so many online tools available today that it’s hard to not have an online presence. Most of us even have an online presence that consists of a variety of different parts. UnHub wants to pull all of these parts together and give you a way to showcase your online persona.

As of right now, UnHub offers a profile bar and a link shortener. The link shortener is useful, but a lot of visitors will probably be more interested in the profile bar at first. Basically, you’re provided with a custom UnHub URL that has a bar at the top of the page that links to your profiles on services like Flickr and LinkedIn. In other words, all you have to do is link to this one URL and people will be able to see what your online presence is made up of in a simple and nice way. This type of thing is becoming more essential as we continue to get inundated with new social services.

LinkedIn To Upgrade Groups Features With Discussions

LinkedIn has started sending owners of certain LinkedIn Groups email letting them know that on Friday they’ll be enabling a new discussions capability for group managers and members. A friend received the information for his LinkedIn group today, but I have not yet received it for the one I co-manage, PDX Tech. So, it’s not clear whether this is rolling out to all groups or just some.

The addition of this new Groups functionality is a great move. To date, people who manage LinkedIn groups have had very limited options in terms of how to enable networking and communication among their groups. One can manually export a delimited-text file in a few formats to let you send emails, but outside of that the group interaction model has been short-featured, and required use of outside services – a sloppy model at best.

In addition to the group discussions, they plan to release an enhanced, searchable membership roster capability. Earlier this summer they introduced a searchable Groups directory. Positive changes appear to be happening.

Below are the details from the LinkedIn email.

Dear #####,

First, thank you for managing your group on LinkedIn. We sincerely appreciate the time and effort you devote to your members, and we know they value it. Together you have made Groups one of the top features on LinkedIn.

This Friday, we will be adding several much-requested features to your group:

  • Discussion forums: Simple discussion spaces for you and your members. (You can turn discussions off in your management control panel if you like.)
  • Enhanced roster: Searchable list of group members.
  • Digest emails: Daily or weekly digests of new discussion topics which your members may choose to receive. (We will be turning digests on for all current group members soon, and prompting them to set to their own preference.)
  • Group home page: A private space for your members on LinkedIn.

We’re confident that these new features will spur communication, promote collaboration, and make your group more valuable to you and your members. We hope you can come by LinkedIn on Friday morning to check out the new functionality and get a group discussion going by posting a welcome message.

Sincerely,
The LinkedIn Groups Team

What The Heck Is LinkedIn For?

I have gotten several invitations from LinkedIn and I have even signed up for an account, but what exactly did I sign up for? How do I use it to help me in my business? — Steve

Social networking as a means for growing your business is an approach every business should strongly consider. The wild popularity of sites like MySpace and Facebook has paved the way for business professionals to interact like they would in traditional business networking groups, only at the speed of light.

Not only can you get in front of prospects for your products and services, you can explore new business development ideas or get advice from other business owners without ever leaving your desk (take advantage of the "wisdom of the crowd").

Any idea you have for expanding your business, you can post as a question on sites like LinkedIn.com (which I recommend as the starting point for anyone new to business social networking) and get the equivalent of a market research analysis or direct contacts into new industries.

The first thing to understand when venturing into social networking as a business is that it’s time intensive. In the early stages, it would not be unusual to spend a half hour to an hour per session for the first couple of days getting up to speed and connecting with others. And to truly take advantage of the networking opportunities, you must be willing to engage on a regular basis (in my case, daily but only a few minutes at a time).

If you can’t commit to working with your profile every couple of days (or weekdays at least), you’re likely not going to get through the learning curve and will get very little out of the experience. You can not successfully interact in a social network on a casual or infrequent basis. The key to getting something out of LinkedIn is asking and answering questions.

Imagine being a member of a business networking group, but not attending any of the meetings, engaging in any of the discussions or getting involved in any of the events. You would likely view the membership’s value in a completely different way than those that do engage.

Social networking is simply an online extension of how we interact in off-line social events. At a cocktail party, if you find yourself in the corner and not engaging with anyone, by the end of the night you will likely feel like it was a waste of time.

When you do socially engage at a cocktail party, as a result of getting to know someone, you often find common business interests, a resource for a business problem that you are experiencing or even an opportunity to do business, but it doesn’t happen in the first 5 minutes.

Larger businesses that are looking to attract Gen X / Gen Y employees would benefit greatly from a structured engagement in the social networking world and may even want to commit resources to ensure that it is being done on a regular basis (IBM actually has a VP of Social Networking).

But, before you get started down this road, be honest with yourself about how much time you are willing to devote to immerse yourself into the Social Networking world. You can’t be social if you’re not ever there…

Bonus Tips: Those that have teenagers can leverage their child’s familiarity with social networking to (a) more quickly get up to speed on the do’s and don’ts and (b) use it to further embellish the relationship with their child (hey, mom and dad ain’t so clueless after all!)

When asking questions on LinkedIn, use headlines that are easy to digest and post your question at the end of the day (when most of the users are spending time answering questions). The first question I ever posted was too complicated and was posted in the middle of the day…it got no responses. The next day I posted the same question in a more appealing headline (just looking through the questions that get the most responses will help you craft your questions) and got immediate responses that were very helpful and a lot of them!

Ken Colburn
President of Data Doctors Computer Services, Host of the award-winning Computer Corner radio show, and Author of Computer Q&A in the East Valley Tribune newspapers.

NotchUp

The job recruiting process is broken in so many ways. If I listed all of them here, then there would be no space for the actual review. Companies waste a lot of time and money recruiting people, and as a potential job candidate, you have to deal with seemingly endless interviews with companies that may or may not actually be very interested in you. In turn, you end up wasting a lot of your own time. Companies are always looking for the best, and if you’re great at what you do, then you could receive offers from these companies to get paid just to take part in an interview. NotchUp makes this possible.

I received an invitation to this service through a member, and I was impressed with how easy it was to get started. Instead of having to manually enter in all of your professional information, you can have the service connect to your LinkedIn account and bring all of those nicely formatted details to your NotchUp profile. It’s up to you to specify what your interview price is, but if you’re not sure of a figure to use, check out the interview calculator that can give you a good idea about what to charge. You can easily ask for hundreds of dollars, but actually receiving offers like that is an entirely different story. Whether you’re currently looking for another job or not, NotchUp will protect your privacy and keep you anonymous until you accept interview offers, which is great.