Just because you have all the right tools doesn’t mean you’re using them to the fullest. Case in point, technology. It can reach more people in less time than ever, but is that really a good thing?
Peter Shankman, founder and CEO of the Geek Factory, a boutique marketing firm based in New York, believes the answer to that question needs to be yes. And no. Shankman will discuss social networking, viral marketing, and why you should be on FaceBook and not necessarily on MySpace or LinkedIn when he hosts “Social Networking: For Good and For Profit,” a free talk on networking in the Digital Age on for the Princeton ACM-IEEE Thursday, February 19, at 8 p.m. at Sarnoff. Call 908-582-7086, or visit www.acm.org/ chapters/princetonacm for more information.
Shankman, who cheerfully describes himself as an example of AD-HD put to good use, is a longtime proponent of networking online. His blog, www.shankman. com, is flush with his thoughts on his main interests — social media, PR, marketing, advertising, and creativity.
Why FaceBook wins. Shankman says that everyone should be on Facebook because MySpace is more for kids. MySpace, he says, is about accumulating the most friends, but Facebook is more about connecting with important people. And while LinkedIn is “your resume digitized,” it does not necessarily generate any real business for you.
He warns, however, that FaceBook is not a magic bullet. If you are no good at real-world networking, he says, you will be no good online. Still, networking is good, especially if you practice good Karma. Don’t network to look for money, do it to build relationships. And the more you do for others the better your chance at finding someone who will do right by you.
Ultimately, he suggests letting it all hang out. Shankman’s own Facebook page does everything it can to let people know exactly who he is. His site is full of pictures, links, details, and random thoughts that give visitors an excellent idea of who they are dealing with.
You suck. If nothing else, establishing an online presence allows you to control the image others get of you, Shankman says. A good way to do that is to preempt the bad stuff. Bush administration strategist Karl Rove famously operated www.bushsucks.com and successfully controlled negative commentary about the former president.
If you opt not to admit that you suck, Shankman says that building links (and reputation) in the search engines at least lets you be the first hit for your name.
Born in New York, Shankman graduated from Boston University in 1994 with a degree in journalism and photojournalism. He went to work for America Online as a senior news editor — one of the founders of the AOL newsroom, he says.
At AOL, he did a lot of what amounted to public relations, for example, explaining what a newsroom is all about and how it could be used. Then in 1997 he returned to New York to start a public relations firm — an endeavor he financed by capitalizing on the film “Titanic.” He made 500 T-shirts announcing “It sank, get over it” and raised $5,000. Then he sold them online and raised $100,000, which he used to start the Geek Factory.