Last night saw us off to Banbury, to what I believe was the first ever BT Tradespace networking event.  We had assumed there was going to be a presentation on getting the most from Tradespace, but sadly that wasn’t the case. 

Although WORD-right is signed-up to BT Tradespace, we’ve never found the time to actually set it up properly.  So come on BT, get your people out there into the real world and help us all make the most of what appears to be a great Internet marketing platform!  

The virtual world seems to have crept up on us, almost unawares.  In the past month we’ve LinkedIn, and even got so far as looking at the world of Twitter.  Internet psychologist Graham Jones, warns of the danger of damaging your business by spending too much time on these social networking sites in his blog: ‘Twitter could kill your business – take care’.  In another post, ‘Hardly anyone actually uses social networks’, he gives some interesting statistics about the number of business people who are in ‘this scene’.  And guess what?  It would seem most prospective clients or customers, yours and mine, have never social networked in their lives. 

So where does that leave the small business?  Should we go with the flow and link and tweet for all we’re worth, or put our heads in the sand and hope it will all go away?  Call me a Luddite if you like, but I too can see a real danger in spending so much time on Internet social networking sites that your business suffers.  If we want to figure out how to get the most from them, we have to spend time investigating them in the evening and at weekends.  For this copywriter, there’s no time during the working week to tweet, let alone twit! 

So how do we get round this problem?  Well, we’ve got people organised to talk at our FBBC networking group on how to make the most of things like LinkedIn, Twitter, and now BT Tradespace. At least that will cut out the lengthy learning process and perhaps we’ll be well enough advised to to reap the rewards, without crippling our businesses in the process. 

I could be wrong (who me?), but I suspect the highest number of Internet social networkers are people who are employed, rather than working for themselves.  What better way of passing the time (when the boss isn’t looking), than to twit, tweet, and link until it’s time to knock off for the day.  I’m also temped to wonder if this is why we’ve had such a significant drop in those interminable email jokes which were doing the rounds.  Perhaps they’re now being written on Facebook walls or twittered about instead of clogging up the email systems. 

Of course, for some people, social networking might be a useful skill to learn … will the day come when we start to see job adverts saying ‘Internet Social Networker Required … inexperienced twits need not apply?

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