Fond memories of Social Networking 1.0
Once upon a time there was a mystical magical land called Social Networking 1.0; or as us old folks like to call them forums. It was a wonderful place where you could not only meet up with other professional SEOs, but webmasters and curious onlookers alike. They could be engaging, enlightening, frustrating and fun; often quite consuming. But, for a young SEO practitioner, there is also a hidden value to remember that is potentially important to your future.
I dont get out to the boards as much as I did a few years ago, but like many SEOs, countless hours have been consumed within them. True to my moniker, theGypsy, I have bopped around a lot and have accounts in more locales than I can remember (right Able?). While reflecting upon what I enjoy about that social format, a few things seemed truly important for the new generation of SEOs; important aspects of being an SEO forum fly that can be help your growth;
Experience generally speaking, we never have more than 10 or so clients at my firm which means no more than 10 markets/niches. This can be somewhat limiting to your growth and some basic problem solving for webmasters on a given board can open up avenues you may not reach otherwise. By cutting your teeth on the boards you can experience a wide variety of problems (to solve) and markets which will ultimately build your tool set and benefit your clients (now and in future as well).
Communication by helping webmasters and business owners you learn to talk to them. We often speak to other SEO professionals in mannerisms and with lexicons that may not be immediately understandable to your average client. When you work the boards, the ability to speak in simplest terms that everyone can understand becomes paramount. This translates into better communication with clients, other departments or corporate overlords which ultimately makes any SEO campaign better.
Friendship the relationships spawned on forums can last a long, long time. Many of SEO folks I know, especially the longer standing friends, have mostly come from forums I have been on over the years. This isnt limited to SEO people either. Many folks I have as friends work in other disciplines such as eCommerce, law, financial, VCs and more. Networking with SEOs and business people alike has certainly been one of the biggest benefits.
Promotion while I cant say that I truly ever had many projects (that I take on) from forums, it has certainly been an act of branding over the years. Dont look to sell though, as with any social medium, try to be useful. I have never considered forums a major revenue generation tool (they are looking for free advice, ya know?)
A few years ago when I was more active, my blog here was actually often covering topics that I would hear as common questions or concerns of the boards I was lurking. There is still much to be offered from this old hat, social networking 1.0; especially for young SEO enthusiasts. Get out there and get dirty, roll up your sleeves and go do micro-problem solving SEO, learn how to talk to lay people and make a few new contacts
. Now dammit!! Git!! Shoo!!
I cant think of many of the more prominent SEOs that havent spent countless hours on the boards
for me there is still value to be had my young SEO Jedi Use the Forum.
( image via Gizmodo - cool doggy costume)