This morning I received in my e-mail a notice from The Huffington Post that they are now awarding nifty new badges to frequent commentators and networking registrants. The rules are simple: if you blog and tweet HuffPo links enough, you get a nice little sticker next to your profile. The idea behind badges for social portal members isn’t new, either. Glue and Foursquare, two rapidly growing networks for product and information sharing, have similar award systems in place. It’s not uncommon for me these days to check Twitter and see somebody I’m following post that they’ve earned the “Underwater Basket Weaving” or “Goo-Goo for Lady Gaga” badge on whatever network.
Social sites like Digg and StumbleUpon make it somewhat easy for you to find connections. If you use a free e-mail services like Hotmail or GMail, for example, it searches your contacts for people who have registered, and gives you the option to fan or subscribe to them. From there it’s only a matter of recruiting friends to assist you in a mutual backscratching endeavor to help boost your sites’ visibility in these networks.
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In the time of Rosa Parks, there was no Internet to publicize the conflicts that gave rise to the powerful civil rights movement, yet through word of mouth and a willingness to participate among the greater community one saw Parks’ simple refusal to give up her bus seat blossom into a series of stirring protests and events that made discrimination against race illegal in this country. With the example before us now, we can witness first hand how social media has effected how the nation feels about various issues.
Depending on your business, it’s probable you qualify as an expert in your field, and if you’re willing to invest the time in assisting others with questions and problems you’ll find your generosity goes a long way. Despite the proliferation of funny videos and snarky comments on news wires, people still do remember kind acts. The question you answer today could turn in a genuine lead sometime down the road.