I recently had the experience of throwing a block party in my neighborhood, and was amazed at the number of neighbors who showed up. It was a great experience, and I attribute a major part of its success to one factor: my wife and I take daily walks through our neighborhood. We don’t necessarily interact with everyone or even a significant minority of people along the route on a regular basis. But our consistent presence helped us achieve a level of recognition in our neighborhood, enough to bring everyone together for a party.
What does this have to do with marketing and new media? If you want to achieve a baseline level of presence and recognition, go for new media walks in the digital neighborhood. Jeff Pulver calls it a social media sunrise. What does that entail?
Make sure you have presence in major social neighborhoods. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Obviously, vet the neighborhoods before you move in or you could move into a sleazy place like Quechup.
Maintain the properties you set up. Accept friend invites as appropriate, and leave footprints. Update your status, write a little something here and there on people’s bulletin boards or other presence notifiers.
Check in daily. Again, not a huge commitment, just make sure you’re logging in so that you can stay in touch. If someone posts a question of interest and you have an answer of value, contribute it.
Go to block parties. Conferences and conventions like PodCamp Philly and PodCamp Boston are the equivalent of block parties, when everyone in the neighborhood shows up, except for the crazy disgruntled neighbor who is always out in the yard grumbling at the other neighbors. Some conferences cost money, while others like PodCamps just require you to get to them – the actual event is free.
Throw your own block party. If you live in a neighborhood where there aren’t block parties, or they’re exclusive little ones that not everyone is invited to, throw your own. Amber Rhea is throwing a block party for the sex and erotica community called Sex 2.0, based on the UnConference model. It’s a great idea, and a great way to bring community together.
The most important thing is to go for a walk regularly. Even if you don’t run into a lot of people each day, your consistent presence will help you be recognized and be able to bring together your community.
Where will you go for a walk today?