1. Respectfully, I think we’re making this too difficult.

    Just engage. That’s all you have to do. Use the tools you want to use, just use them well and engage.

  2. Jeremy, I think a number of people do not understand what tools are available, and I think they have a hard time with the concpet of an online local community. I think Anne breaks it down to something tangible that a 60 year old CEO can get their hands around. It’s the same point when people were saying why do I need a website/email. Now the next generation is asking why do I need a blog. She tells you why.

  3. I’d like to be part of a single blog post for the region: listed businesses, organizations, and people. The increasing proportions seen each week would be a hoot. Quality? Stay away from that evaluation.

    Having a single blog for the region (along with others) and news about advancing numbers of members might help attract the off-line people. There have to be significant incentives sufficient to attract the off-liners to overpower the real- and time-costs and intrinsic reluctance to engage “the new.”

    The x and y axes for the region are probably “% people on mailing lists” and “% of people to be contacted for sales”?

  4. I think, fundamentally, Jeremy, you’re right. It ends up being simple. Just engage.

    What I see among thoughtful, successful business leaders, as Stuart does, are legitimate questions: a) Is “engaging” really of business value? and b) Okay, I’ll engage. Which tool? How?

    I’ve tried to assist with “a” in this post. With regard to “b,” I think those who know can coach those who want to know, and develop into co-creators of a regional social media extravaganza of awing possibility.

    The basics of everything I’ve learned about computers and the Internet were taught to me by someone else. Upon those basics, I could build. I have had great teachers – you among them. You invited me to use Twitter and coached me on how to use it. I eventually wrote a white paper on best business practices for the use of Twitter. Now that’s a good coach!

    I got lucky knowing you. I’m trying to pass on the goodness you gave me one-to-one in a the new “social media way” – one-to-many via this blog post – with more to come.

    You help us all think! Thank you!

  5. While a single blog for the region could be of value, Bob, it doesn’t fuel “The Handshake 2.0 Effect” – a large quantity of high-quality posts (determined by quality and quantity of readership, “links to,” and other factors) that create the riches of a complex network of inter-linked regional sites.

    A key factor in all this is search engine listings. The more “relevant” a regional business’s site is, the higher it will appear in natural search results. Theoretically and ideally, the higher the listing the higher the sales. The more we, as a region, can raise each other in the listings by links to and from each other with our own “relevant” sites, the greater the chance of creating an accumulated effect of high search engine listings for many regional busineses.

    Remember the Earth Ball? That’s how I envision a regional social media initiative. It tooks everyone pushing it – together – to make it move.

  6. It’s one thing to “know of” these networking/engagement tools. It’s another to use them. There are many comments online saying it is a great tool…or it simply doesn’t work etc.

    Then there is “how” you use those tools. Anne is very adept at using these tools.

    It is akin to a craftsman with great tools. You can put “great” tools in the hands of my kids and that will not automatically turn them into craftsmen or magically help them produce works of art.

    Anne’s and Daryl’s comments on quantity, quality and excellence are spot on.

  7. I think the Roanoke Regional Partnership is embracing this concept wholeheartedly. Their new site is accompanied with an active facebook page and twitter ( ) activity. I’m a true believer that engaging the community with the aid of social networks gives a collective human personality to the organization and gives any group the opportunity to receive real-time and genuine feedback from their constituents. For economic development, where your purpose is generating goodwill, nothing is more critical than making the appropriate case

  8. And I appreciate that you walk the talk of “engaging the community.”

    We have a vision of every regional business blogging ( ).

    You blog and I follow you on Twitter. Thanks for being someone who models what you value.

  9. Just don’t turn it into an ad-infested portal blog with an aggregation of “blah blah blah,” press releases and regional propaganda.

    That’s my 2 cents.

  10. Thanks for your 2 cents!

  11. Apparently I left Blacksburg too soon. This is exactly the sort of discussion I was looking for. Too many organizations seem to be trying to target everyone in the world, when their real audience should be more local. Regional social media is the way to get both the benefit, and the audience you want.

  12. Sorry you’re no longer in Blacksburg, but, luckily, in the world of social media, we can talk about anything from anywhere!

    Thanks for your comment!

  13. The way you explained the tools to be used when being engaged in social media is excellent. Very well-worded and you’ve got brilliant ideas. Being engaged in social media is a good way when it comes in search engine optimization. Through using these platforms, one can make people know more about their products in a less cumbersome way.

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