In case you have been living under a rock, or are over 60, you are well aware of the latest "thing" keeping your kids from doing their homework or going outside to play. Social networking sites like FaceBook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter are getting people together at, for a lack of a better word, an alarming rate.
For example, and this just happened to me, I just found one of those six degrees of separation between me and Barack Obama. Really? The President of the United States? And it is only two degrees.
Granted, Mr. O has his own Facebook page where it seems that anyone can join. A contact of mine already has but who knows if in an earlier time in his life he did not have a chat with the Prez before he even ran for lower office in Illinois?
Today, a friend from college linked up with one of her old high school friends and since I am Facebook friends with her I get that notification. "Kathy just friended Garth the Avenger (not their real names)." Garth? Wait a minute - I know a Garth the Avenger. We were in the same bunk in sleepaway camp in the 70s. Couldn't be. She already is friends with my friend's second wife across the country. How can she know everybody from my past?
You get the point. The more we use these sites, the more evolved our networks become and the more our sometimes unwanted pasts come back to bite us again. The growth of these sites can be compared to a cancer if left unchecked by common sense.
So how does this get back to our portfolios? Look at it this way, my son has 379 Facebook friends and my daughter has 734. I don't think I've even met 734 people.
But if you can get a viral video or catch phrase going into social networking sites you can sell anything. (I'm the Man - Joe Jackson). I think marketing departments will take over from R&D when it comes to business. The more savvy they are on the web, the better they will do.
Traditional advertising? Forget it. These kids hardly watch TV and when they do they are also on the computer. or they are Tivo-ing past the commercials. Newspapers are dying. Radio is fading into mp3 players.
As for we grown-ups. don't get me wrong, I am wasting, er, spending plenty of time on FaceBook and LinkedIn too and love the time machine aspect. There are some people I have not seen in ages that I really miss.
But there were times in my life when I was a/an _____ (fill in your own negatively charged noun) and I do not want to relive them nor be with the people I was a/an ____ to. Yes, time heals all wounds but I've got other things to worry about like keeping a business and family moving forward into the future.