The Digital Neighborhood
I’ve been asked a number of times recently in the local Cincinnati community about how the different social networking platforms relate to one another and why someone would want to participate in any or all of them.
There are a lot of parallels to our online and offline lives. Consider your presence online as participating in a digital neighborhood. It’s your digital neighborhood, consisting of all the places where you hang out. These analogies could probably be fleshed out a bit further, but go with me on this, okay?
The office is where business gets conducted. Transactions are processed. The office is the company’s website. I don’t currently work for a company, so I’ll point to the official New Media Cincinnati website for the time being.
If the company website is the office, then the blog is the more informal hangout, where guests are welcome to come and hang out, join in on discussions. If we had a cold one, we’d offer it to you, etc. Have you seen the pictures of the family? Chances are, you’ve stopped by my “home” to read this post. Welcome!
LinkedIn is analogous to the business meeting. It’s where business connections get made, and (typically) professional types of discussions happen. Think of it as the Chamber or Association meeting. Are we connected over there?
Office Watercooler/Conference Call
From time to time we need to get up from our desks and head to the break room and chat with other coworkers. At other times, we have conference calls to be on, where we’re talking about a specific topic, or the conversation has a common sort of context. That’s what Twitter is. We hop in to share some information, ask questions, and so forth. We also can share information around specific topics with hashtags (for specific chats or events).
Remember those chats with your neighbors along your backyard fence as you’re hanging out in your yard? Pretty casual and very friendly. Facebook is the digital equivalent of the backyard fence. Let your hair down a bit and kick your shoes off if you want.
I’m sure there are other parts of our digital neighborhood I’m missing, and maybe you can help to develop the analogy even further. Where would sites like Foursquare fit in? What would be the grocery store or shopping mall? The library?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Want to read more like this from Daniel Johnson, Jr.? If you do, subscribe right now!