Facebook Changed My Life. It Can Change Your Industry.

by Dan Blank on July 18, 2008

I am not a first adopter. I look for trends when new services or products reach the “tipping point,” and begin making sweeping behavioral changes within what I would call “average” Americans.

Today I want to talk about Facebook, the social network that started out for college students, and has spread well beyond.

FACEBOOK CHANGED MY LIFE.

It’s true. Here’s how:

  • Turned my past and my present into one.
  • It has turned 2-dimensional colleagues and acquaintances into 3-dimensional people whose interests and experiences I share and care about.
  • Makes them a part of my everyday life, with zero effort on either part.
  • Makes me feel part of something larger… part of a larger community.
  • It is intimate, yet everyone has control of what to share.

When I first started using Facebook, I was skeptical and skiddish. Sensitive to share too much. Then, three things happened:

  1. Someone that I hadn’t talked to since grade school friended me.
    I was blown away. I tend to look at my distant past as a time capsule, and have some unrealistic vision that little George Veitengruber is still 8 years old, and trapped only in my memories. I was surprised to learn he is actually 35, just like me.

  2. Then, little George Veitengruber started scanning in and uploading photos.
    Photos of my childhood. Suddenly they were online. But instead of being scared of this, the opposite happened. The photos, and my childhood, came to life. George, me, and a couple other people I grew up with started trying to identify everyone in the photos, by “tagging” them.
  3. I did the unthinkable. I uploaded every class photo I had from Kindergarten to 8th grade.
    Then, I found everyone I could who I grew up with, who was on Facebook, and asked them to help me tag the photos. The result added a level of meaning to my life that is somewhat indescribable.

Suddenly, not only was a class reunion happening in real-time, but once connected with these people, I began receiving updates. Photos of their kids, status updates on what they were doing and thinking about. My world is now larger; My many lives are turning into one; And people that I have a strange affection for are suddenly a part of my life again.

HOW FACEBOOK CAN CHANGE YOUR INDUSTRY.

So what are the lessons here that can apply to your industry? Any business’s value is in making connections. Connections to profitable ideas or markets; connections to people who make business happen; connections to processes and places that didn’t exist before; connection to money.

Connection is inherently, what business is about.

There is an opportunity for you, or your brand, to be the conduit for more connections. Connections that are meaningful, and expand your industries in ways that were not possible before. Would your industry value you if you did the following:

  • Connect readers with each other.
  • Connect those who have ideas, with those who need ideas.
  • Connect people’s careers to one another. Many of your readers have been in your industry for decades. How can you connect them to past colleagues, to current colleagues, to leaders, to like-minded people?
  • Be the conduit. Create groups. Load photos. Give them a compelling reason to connect.

And here’s the trick. Don’t bother unless you can do one of the following:

  • Connect people with solutions to their deepest needs.
  • Connect people around topics they are the most passionate about.

Anything less is not worth their time, and not worth yours.

Perhaps you are thinking, “Well Dan, this is all well and good, but this only benefits Facebook.” But that simply isn’t true. Brands are not magazines. Brands are not websites. Brands are not articles. Brands are not databases.

Brands are ideas. Or to take it a step further, brands are ideals.

And there is a simple fact: if you find a way to help your industry; If you place yourself at the center of business-critical connections… The money is not an afterthought. It is simply unavoidable.

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