Confessions of a Social Networking Addict

Through many engagements, we hear many questions surrounding social networking: what it means; how it applies to business; and, more directly, how social networking can turn a profit for a business.

If you’re in interactive marketing today, it would be logical to assume that based on the tremendous growth in usage of Social Networking tools, you can ride the wave of interest to reach more people within a trusted network and get your message across within established groups.
Not so fast!

I thought it would be valuable to give you some food for thought if you’re thinking about jumping into the social networking pool by shedding some light on the morning activity of one couple who has fully integrated the use of social networks into their day. My wife Michelle and I are the couple, by the way. This will act both as a catharsis for me and probably make me the butt of many long-running jokes for anyone who knows me personally. I will not describe my entire day to recoup any semblance of having a life outside computers. To fill in the blanks repeat the morning routine throughout the day. That said, here is one picture of an audience you may be missing in your reach for brand awareness and conversions:

* 5:30 AM: My daughter wakes us with a blood curdling scream. Michelle is up and jumps onto Facebook to see if anyone commented on the photos she posted of our wedding 6 years ago. (Yes, she took care of our daughter first.)

* 5:45 AM: I smell coffee. Come downstairs (this is not a Folgers commercial). Hip-check Michelle off the laptop in the kitchen. Check e-mail (work and home), scan the front pages of four daily publications, and go to Facebook. A few people I’m loosely affiliated with have posted 25 things about themselves. I hate chain letters yet for some reason have no problem when it’s called “Notes” in Facebook. Damn you Facebook! I declare my random thought for the day via setting a status.

* 6:30 AM: Driving to work. BBC World Roundup is giving me a false sense of intelligence (thank you British accent). My phone buzzes. My friend David interrupted the BBC to ask me which song I’m listening to. He is responding to my status update. Am I willing to risk your life and mine to respond to this inane question while driving? You bet. (As an aside I started to wait for Red lights.)

* 7:00 AM: I smell coffee again at Starbucks. I’ve signed onto AT&T to get WiFi on my iPhone. Waiting in line, I check a few news aggregators. Yes, news probably didn’t change in an hour and a half. There’s always more. Sit down. Check Facebook on my phone. Few more friends woke up and are espousing their thoughts for the day.

* 7:30 AM: At my desk. Open LinkedIn and scan new connections. I also scan, “People You May Know.” Relish the occasional opportunity to select, “I Prefer Not to Connect.” Take that! I’ll also decipher the tealeaves of determining who looked at my profile. “Someone in the Leadership function in the Internet industry from Washington D.C. Metro Area.” My mind races. Lastly, I’ll scan Twitter and on a rare occasion, jump in.

Welcome to the Rorschach of my life. I’m in my 30s, married, and the fantasy demographic target for most advertisers. I’d claim that I don’t see advertisements on websites but I’d be lying. I’d claim I never see the advertisements for purchasing “the Godfather DVD set” on Facebook. Yet again, damn your profiling ways Facebook! But that would also be a lie. I’d equally claim I never pay attention to little nuances like one friend joining a cause on Facebook or inviting me to join causes that define who they are. But these are all lies. I notice. I might not interact, but I notice.
And herein is the dilemma: