How about taking a stroll back to the future with me? I was browsing through my archived files this weekend and stumbled upon a video file that featured some local training and consulting I was doing back in 2000 (eons ago!).
My focus was on helping people network on the internet, now more commonly know as social networking. It was an interesting walk down memory lane…and social neworking was just as much fun then as it is now.
The only real difference between then and now is critical mass and tools — now there are tons more people on the internet who view social networking as an opportunity to build relationships using really great tools like twitter.
But the goals for social networking aren’t any different now than they were then — focus on building relationships and never forget there’s a person on the other side of that screen.
There were a lot of people interested in the concept in 2000 and I gave several short talks to groups in my local area which developed into business. I called the talks “Power Up Your Schmooze-Ability: Networking Your Way Across the WWW.” I even created a website – schmooze-ability.com (displayed from archive.org – Aug 2000) to help people share online networking success stories.
The topic was new and caught the eye of some folks at NAWBO who asked me to present at their conference in November 2000. To put this into perspective, remember that “back then” conference sites weren’t equipped with internet connections much less wifi so my workshop was conducted using a combination of powerpoint and case studies. The workshop had a great crowd and we had a great time. Those folks were as excited about the prospect of meeting new business contacts online as I was.
And that’s how this “social networking” video was born. Our local 24 hour news station heard about my workshops and decided it would be a good feature for their daily business segment. I was thrilled! The segment ran once every hour between 8am and 5pm — each time it ran, my phone rang off the hook.
But at that time, it just wasn’t scalable as a core business service. In 2000, email was just becoming the coolest app of the day for many small businesses and they just didn’t see where all this internet stuff was going and how it could benefit them. (Some small businesses still don’t get it, believe it or not!)
There weren’t any places like FaceBook or LinkedIn where you could keep up with what was happening in your network. I ended up dropping this service and worked to help small business owners take a more holistic approach to integrating social networking activities within the scope of their business strategy which is where it really belongs anyway.
So take a look at this video clip which was originally recorded using VHS, then converted to ram and now posted on youtube. And remember, the things you don’t think are possible today are just waiting for some technowhiz to build a tool for it and the masses to embrace it. Mark my words — it will happen.