Across multiple industries, the value of sharing and corresponding with like-minded individuals has taken on new strides with today’s Web 2.0 networking options. Hundreds, if not thousands, of startup companies, are joining the bandwagon of community interactions, with profiles and invites pairing up people in droves. The highlights of MySpace, Facebook, Instagram DM have been cloned and manipulated into dozens of industries. Linking, referencing, creating referral networks and driving traffic every which way around the web is enough to make your head spin. Many of today’s social networking sites are based on some key themes; user response rates, general traffic, the ability for users to ‘gain’ a ranking or status, and identifying unique communities.
The concept of a popularity contest is reminiscent of high school days; status and ranking based on who you know is a long-time social network that is now thriving full force in the social networking environment. However, there is still plenty of value in the Web 2.0 networking craze that is fueling these Internet communities.
As more people are learning to navigate and arrange their resources, they are also engaging with thousands of people they likely would never have met in their lifetime. With a level of ease that most of us take for granted, we are able to interact, discuss, and share our lives with people from across the globe. The social effect becomes something much bigger than a standard acquaintance when you add the fact that the person has been directly ‘referred’ to you, or belongs to someone’s network that you actually know.
Finding new information, insights, and perspectives is another ‘side effect’ of both social and business networking. A well-rounded opinion or research is no longer an obstacle for self-learning, growth, and understanding. Days of research on a particular topic or subject can take a very different course when you can create a discussion group, moderate it for a few weeks, and glean from the results. Not only is live interaction a great way to communicate with others in a field, but it also provides a time-sensitive window of opportunity for today’s rapidly changing markets and endeavors.
Discovering new communities is an online adventure in itself. Any subject, endeavor, or topic that you have an interest in likely has a large group of enthusiasts, people of different skills, professionals, or startup groups in your area. It’s easier than ever before to find and interact with these people, regardless of physical limitations, boundaries of time, or financial restraints in travel. It’s become so simple to download a seminar or lecture on your favorite topic, watch it as a podcast, and participate in a group discussion within the same day or week. Education and learning are taking on a much higher, user-responsive levels at a tremendous pace.
Referral networks and systems are developing rapidly for thousands of industry-specific searches. Job boards, movie reviews, shopping sites, consumer groups, and even non-profit organizations are adapting platforms and networking systems that allow better interaction, more targeted search results, and valuable referral systems to generate leads, candidates, and prospects.
Social and business networking has much more value and power than the basic, perhaps initial, popularity contest model. Today’s businesses and industries are adapting the referral network model to create fantastic designs and structures that allow sharing, collaboration, and valuable referrals within the system. Web 2.0 business models are here to stay, developing at a rapid pace, and evolving in dynamic ways.