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Facebook or face to face

October 7, 2009, issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper –  Article by Barbara Figge Fox

With So Many People in Your Face (If Not On Your Facebook Page), Who Has Any Time Left to Tweet?

We humans are social animals,” says Matt Dawson of Image Cog, a Trenton website development company. “Anywhere people gather is an opportunity for marketing a business. When they asked John Dillinger why he robbed banks, he answered ‘That’s where the money is.’ So when businesses ask, should we get involved with social media, the answer has got to be ‘Yes.’ The question then becomes, ‘What is the strategy?’” Dawson, who emceed the social media panel at last week’s Princeton Regional Chamber Trade Fair, points out that most advertising messages “come at you” whether you want them or not. You see them on TV, you hear them on radio, your eyes pass over the ads in magazines — even E-mails arrive without your choosing to get them. But when people find you on the Inter- net, and connect with you, they do it by choice. It’s the same way with social media. “That’s a big benefit, and it can’t be overlooked,” he says. “Social media is really about relationships.” Don’t look at social media too literally, he warns. “Our minds are always focused on where the dollars will come from. But social media is about creating relationships, and there is value in relationships, and value in becoming involved in these conversations.” Social media is becoming a recognized job category. “It wasn’t so long ago that businesses realized they either needed to hire a person to build a website or to outsource that job to the company,” he says. “Now there are positions emerging, in marketing communication, that focus on social media. Just like event planners. “ Like the web, social media creates a more-than-level playing field for the small business. He tells of a karate studio that shot a really interesting video, stuck it up on YouTube, and it spread like wild- fire. The current push, for many media agencies, is to create such wildly successful clips. “What can we do that is going to get shared? That is exactly the arena that I want Image Cog to jump into,” says Dawson. “It is frankly a position I covet.” “Twitter is the buzz now, and maybe the biggest anomaly. People have figured out why they should or should not be involved in LinkedIn and Facebook. On the surface, Twitter is messages flying back and forth of possibly little interest. But Dan Porcher, who is working with Image Cog on this, calls Twitter ‘a giant cocktail party that follows you around.’ You will not be interested in every conversation, but you might find a conversation that is of interest.” Dawson cites Nomad Pizza twittering its followers to attract them to come to events where Nomad is selling product. He predicts that coffee shops will take orders by Twitter, just like they used to take orders by fax. But he makes no claim that Twitter will be the killer app for social media and, indeed, points to the MySpace trend, which had been all the buzz but has now been relegated to the younger generation and is being supplanted by Facebook. “For the foreseeable future, Twitter is entrenched,” Dawson says. “But what will be the next thing? I don’t know.”

Steven Verba, far left, Melissa Alancourt, and Tara Loversidge of Community Options, which links its blog with Facebook, LinkedIn, and an E-mail blast program.

Linked & LinkedIn : Steven Verba, far left, Melissa Alancourt, and Tara Loversidge of Community Options, which links its blog with Facebook, LinkedIn, and an E-mail blast program.

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