On July 16, 2006 Twittr launched publicly with this article. To celebrate this auspicious anniversary I’m sharing the story of how I’ve plunged head first into this new phenomenon we call Social Media.
Like many amateurs, I stuck my toes in the water by creating a Facebook profile. I added a my picture, filled in the stat sheet and before long was reconnecting with long lost high school friends, work peeps and college drinking buddies.
Wading in a bit further, I downloaded a few photos and created some albums and my profile page began to morph into an extension of likes and dislikes, photos, video’s and instant chat.
I had joined Facebook because I was curious about free advertising for my business. Money was tight and I knew a few people who were rapidly growing their fan base and gaining loyal fans. I created a business page and the real journey began.
In no time at all I was the local Facebook expert at work, helping co-workers, guests and business associates with their accounts. I would walk thru the dining room toward the bar and random guests would stop me to say they were fans.
Answering questions and building a list of social contacts would become invaluable to me not for the business they brought to my front door, but for the relationships and friendships that were beginning to grow.
Social media is all about making a connection with people and I found it effortless and a fun distraction to my daily grind.
I learned how to link our Open Table reservation system to my Facebook business page and all of a sudden my Facebook fans were utilizing my page for reservations. I linked YouTube video‘s and created photo albums of special events, then shared them on my page with amazing results.
Along the way I created a Twitter account for our restaurant, then a seperate one for myself and began linking posts from Facebook to Twitter and back again, sometimes just to see if I could.
I studied my business landing page stat sheets and learned pretty quick that people like pictures, so I snapped away with my Blackberry and posted them on the web.
We hosted a wine & food pairing dinner with a Twitter friend of mine, Mike Cox, the winemaker from Schug Vineyards. I snapped photos of each course in real time and shared a virtual wine dinner with my friends.
By this time I was all in.
I attended a food show in Columbia, SC and cornered their tech people about how to increase my website visibility in Google search engines, then I stayed up late that night and became an expert in Google Maps.
Just the other day I found myself wishing for a toothache after I got a an email update that someone had stolen the Mayorship of my dentist office on Four Square.
Wikipedia defines Foursquare as, “a location-based social networking website, software for mobile devices.
“This service is available to users with GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as Smartphones. Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by running the application and selecting from a list of venues that the application locates nearby. Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges”.
“The service was created in 2009 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai. Crowley had previously founded the similar project Dodgeball as his graduate thesis project in the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. Google bought Dodgeball in 2005 and shut it down in 2009, replacing it with Google Latitude.
“Dodgeball user interactions were based on SMS technology, rather than an application. . Foursquare is the second iteration of the same idea, that people can use mobile devices to interact with their environment.
“As of December 2010, the company reported it had 6 million registered users. On September 1, 2010, the World Economic Forum announced the company as a Technology Pioneer for 2011.“
I was introduced to Foursquare pretty early on and recognized the promotion potential it had for my business. We gave away logo’d poker chips for check-ins and the chef put together a special appetizer for repeat guests who became the mayor.
Two years ago our business fell victim to the economy, so we had to shut our doors and I lost my job. I created a LinkedIn account and shared my plight with my tech-savy friends. I updated my profile, grew my connections list and received recommendations for past performance in a matter of days.
I’ve barely scratched the surface with some of the applications that consume my friends; like Stumble and Digg and Flicker and Gowalla and Untapped, just to name a few. I found Blogger, which has led to an addiction to Word Press and I wonder, where will we all go from here?
As for me, I’ve chosen to embrace the changes from the newsprint stained fingers of yesterday to the digital future of tomorrow.
Follow my journey @ https://chriskaton.com/