Saturday, March 06, 2010

Loudoun Social Media - Business Community Channels

As the Loudoun New Media experiment grows, I'll point out that there is actually strategy in play, one that's taking shape and getting executing rapidly as a result of the "Open Government Directive". I'll start laying out the strategy through some upcoming blog postings, but suffice it to say, the strategy includes utilization of ANY and ALL social/new media channels that may be relevant. Different channels and social media tools are more or less useful for different purposes. Basically, we should use what we have, that works, as it's intended to be used.

(By the way, as this EDC activity is business-focused, similar initiative can and is starting for other interests...who'd like to start a Dulles-Loudoun Social Media Club? In the same manner as the DC Social Media Club...)

For example, tweeting is very different than blogging, which isn't really the purpose of LinkedIn.

Note that I'm writing this as a blog, vs. a discussion item, though the content automatically ends up in many other social media channels and search engines (by design). Try it now - search for "made in loudoun" in Google...

So, there are several new media channels available now that can reflect this Loudoun New Media Group's initiative - and that will be increasingly integrated and cross-referenced over time. Below is the list, with some guidance for use:

* Warning - some technical content and terms ahead; all part of the learning experience :) *

LinkedIn - "Loudoun" group - for brief discussions, relationship management, news and information updates; very professionally-oriented - this is the "Master Contact List" so to speak, of our core group, and most EDC/MBRC Social Media Subcommittee news will start here. Note that group updates and discussions aren't easily (nothing's really private on the Internet) publicly accessible or indexable by Google - but "Status updates" are.

Facebook - "Loudoun" Fan Page - for social interaction and brief status updates; a bit more entertainment-oriented, casual and personal, can grow quickly, and will likely include a lot more "accidental tourists"

Twitter - "Loudoun" account, "Loudounbusiness" Twitter List - this is set up to automatically relay tweets from members who provide me their Twitter ID. (There are several other Twitter accounts that will relay information and news about this initiative, to other microblog formats (like Google Buzz); all to spread the word!). If you post about our Loudoun Social Media experiment, be sure to use the hashtag #madeinloudoun or #loudounbusiness!

Wikia - "Loudoun" page - this is a "Wiki", which is a great place to collaborate on building "encyclopedia-style" information pages; anyone can edit/update, and there's lots of good collaboration and some document management. This is a good place to start (it's brand new) a repository of information, documents and links (so long as you don't mind learning "Wiki" editing skills), and is a "industry-neutral" site. Some material here might actually be better stored over at "Loudounpedia", a wiki started under the auspices of the Loudoun librarians.

GovLoop - "Loudoun" group - this is a Ning-powered Social Media collaboration site intended to bring government employees together with the public, for purposes of collaboration on government services and initiatives. At the end of the day, this may be truly the right "home" for most collaboration, relationship-building, and information sharing - though the current theme of our experiment is more business than government-focused, and therefore a future public/private initiative for the purpose of supporting Loudoun general government activities might be better suited....time will tell.

Blogs - most significant, user-generated content that are in narrative, research or article format really should be published on a blog (as a blog entry, or as comments to someone else's), or at least on a website that auto-generates RSS feeds of the content. Several local blogs are available I can post your article to (if you don't have your own blog); including "Gateway to Loudoun" and "Made in Loudoun", and "Northern Virginia Business News, Loudoun". Some of these are being automatically populated with streams and content from other sources, including this group. In any case, if you post a blog entry, be sure to let me know the RSS feed, so that I can make sure entries on this topic are automatically pulled into our other social media channels, and shared with everyone.

Email - do you simply want to email info to the group? Two ways to do it, such that it spreads through our channels....One is to post a discussion item in LinkedIn; that gets sent out in email updates to those who subscribe. Second is to let me know you'd like to - and I'll hook you up with access to Loudoun.Posterous.Com - it automatically accepts emails (with multimedia!) and publishes as a blog. Since this is a "New Media" initiative, I believe we'll try to avoid traditional email lists.

Myspace - you know, I'm just not going there for this particular initiative...

Multi-media - Just use the tag "Made In Loudoun" or perhaps "Loudoun Business Community" in photo-sharing sites like Flickr or Photobucket, and if you find you've got video to upload, tag it in the same manner.

There are lots of other possible choices, tools and forums, and probably lots of other places you may personally communicate with others, using new or social media. Just let me know the RSS feed of these places, along with some direction regarding how the right material can be identified, and we'll get this content pumped into the Loudoun new media machine!

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