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3 Keys to Networking and Branding

1. Just start – Whether it’s StumbleUpon account, introducing yourself to a colleague for lunch, or creating a blog you’ve got to start somewhere. Why wait till tomorrow, when you can begin today? Networks and brands take time to build. Remember, a great reputation is the most difficult thing to build and maintain, and always the first thing to be lost. One way to sacrifice your reputation is by sacrificing your message.

2. Stick with a consistent message – The presidential race this year has been a perfect example of utilizing a consistent message. Mitt Romney tailored his approach on a state by state basis, promising each state what they wanted to hear. McCain, took his blunt approach to each state, telling Michigan that the Automotive Industry was on the way out, and sticking by the war – looks who’s consistent message has risen to the top of the ballot. Obama’s optimistic message of change has resonated everywhere he’s set foot, and he’s established himself as the premier political “brand”. Obamanation is gripping, and his audiences can depend on hearing his message of change. More articulately, change we can believe in. Whether or not you like his political stances, his campaign has a feverish excitement that turns heads, the same way an excellent marketing campaign would. Sticking with a consistent message and pounding it home is favorable with viewers and readers everywhere. Find a subject you’re passionate about and start writing today. Don’t change your approach to please one person. There’s always somebody who will disagree.

3. Get your name out there – Link and link and link. Promote yourself without shame, and do what you can to strengthen your reader base. Take time to comment on other people’s accounts, maintain your consistent message and continue to get yourself out there. Introducing yourself both in real life and online can be an intimidating experience. By the time you click submit or shake that hand you won’t regret it.

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Let’s do lunch! Why?

The business relationship! 50, 20, or even 10 years ago it would seem ludicrous to do business without establishing a solid foundation of this somewhat touchy and indefinable understanding between two parties that both of them are there to suck every ounce of possible profit from the other. In the normal world, relationships are built upon caring, giving, and understanding. Why have we tried to force these same principles into a forum where they are not necessarily needed? You don’t need to be funny, kind or enjoyable; I don’t even have to like you. As long as you demonstrate to me that you provide me with some kind of value that I cannot find elsewhere, the relationship will be just fine.

And with this feeling comes the true value of these social business networking sites like LinkedIn, Ryze, and Tribe. They strip away all the unnecessary chit chat and tiptoeing that goes along with the normal ice breakers that arise during your first blind meeting with someone. Soon I will be able to walk into a meeting, already knowing all the necessary background information about this person. Through discussion with other networkers, I will already know if he is honest, shady, caring, giving, thieving, or backstabbing. And with that, is lunch even needed.

With the rise of Skype and other video messengers, the personal meetings that used to take up time and effort are now being streamlined into a forum where I don’t even need to leave my house. Just last night I had a 3 way skype meeting where I was in my dorm room, one person was in Cranberry, and the third party was in China. Yes China. Without these geographical limitations, the efficiency, simplicity, and quantity of my business meetings are endless. The networking sites of the future will be the ones that can best link all these together.

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Facebook Expansion

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In creating facebook the business seemed to start out slow and then increase at a very fast pace. When I was a Freshman here at Grove City my sister was a Hamilton College and she called me and said hey you should get on facebook. So I looked into it because I didn’t even know what it was at the time because it wasn’t very big at the time. I later found out that it was similar to Myspace in that it was a social networking system. The difference at the time was that it wasn’t open to everyone it was only open to people at certain colleges that Facebook designated its service to. After a little while I remember that it came to Grove City and it was a really good way to keep in touch with High School friends and other friends that you didn’t go to school with. However, instead of continuing to keep its niche as just college students across the globe Facebook expanded to High Schools and then to everyone who has an email address. I personally don’t like this because I thought it was cool to just have friends from college and at the college level rather than everyone like My Space and the other services are. So I think Facebook expanded because they have a huge following and are making a ton of money on it but I also know a lot of people that are mad because they expanded so much and did all these different things. All in all I think it was probably the best move for them to expand if their end goal was to get as many users as possible but I am just not a big fan of it.

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