A weekend in the middle of my trip gives me the opportunity to visit my son who works and snowboards in the French Alps for six months of the year.
He has to work on the Saturday so he sets me up in an Italian restaurant /pub with WiFi so I can catch up on a week of being out of the office. So for four hours, I diligently work away as various interesting characters come in and out – mainly to use the bathroom but sometimes for food or a drink.
At about 6 pm, I hear a lot of noise outside in the street; a combination of shouting and honking car horns. Then suddenly, this man with his pants around his ankles and wearing a thong and a tiger mask bursts into the restaurant shouting in English with a strong French accent, “I am not John Lennon, I am John Lion!”
He continued to repeat this mantra multiple times as people either stood there smiling or made a quick exit in the opposite direction. Since the people in the bar (the smiling ones) offered him a drink and patted him on the back, I figured that this was not an uncommon occurrence. A few minutes later my son shows up to tell me that it was this guy’s birthday and that before he came into the restaurant, he had run into his shop minus the thong!
When my son finished work, we went to a different restaurant for dinner which also had free WiFi for customers and since I still had my computer, my son wanted to show me a couple of things on Facebook. We ended up on my Facebook page where I had very little written on my wall so I decided to post a message saying, “Visiting my son in the French Alps and watching naked Frenchmen running around in the streets”.
Now I only have about 15 friends on Facebook who can see my messages but within minutes I had 7 or 8 responses to my posting in addition to several requests to become my friend!
In this tiny little example, I had learned firsthand the power and effectiveness of social networking and viral messaging on the internet. No wonder so many businesses are shifting their sales, marketing and collaboration focus to this medium.
It is no longer sufficient just to have a nice looking web site to promote your business or interact with your customers and prospects. Without an internet social networking presence through Blogs, Forums, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook and others, many businesses and institutions are simply missing out on marketing, sales, technical, cost savings, recruitment and collaboration (just to name a few) opportunities .
There is no other medium in the world today where information can be disseminated to so many people so quickly.
So get ready to see a lot more from InfoSol in the social networking arena in the coming weeks and months but that will not include video clips of naked Frenchmen running around in the Alps.
Related links: InfoBurst 2009 YouTube channel and 9 ways to use social networking for blog promotion