The social media universe is huge, and still expanding. When was the social media ‘big bang’? It may have its origins back as far as the early 90s with internet portals, chat rooms, and message/bulletin boards. The growth of the internet, and the emergence of search giants like Google and Yahoo!, made the prospect of monetizing real. Because when you can make money on something, well, that’s when EVERYBODY starts taking notice. One may argue that pure e-commerce still has not overtaken the internet, and probably for good reason. Why? The recent sentiment toward local and even hyper-local patronization may be one reason. Ahh, and THAT’S where the social aspect of the internet opens up great opportunity for the digital storefront, the social small (or large) business.

The theory of multiple universes is at once fascinating and headache-inducing. It’s all very technical, too, with talk of quantum theory, strings, bubbles, etc. and the inevitable speculation about universes colliding and overlapping. That’s all we’ll say about that. The point is that the theory has interesting parallels to the behaviors and experiences of individuals and brands in their own social spheres (or universes). Each of us has our ‘bubble’ of experience in social media – people, interests and brands that we connect and interact with. And while some of the interaction is direct and intentional, a good bit of it is indirect, serendipitous, and random. As individuals, small business and corporate brands – citizens of the broad social universe – we strive to make these connections meaningful in a way that is mutually beneficial. But, how? Let’s discuss how to make the collisions of our universes worthwhile.

1) How can brands increase their chance of ‘connecting’ with customers in social media?

2) In social networks, connections and interactions are brief. How do we make the most of them when they occur?

3) Do social networks foster real connections? Or is their nature truly transactional?

4) How can brands create an ‘experience’ from a transaction?

5) Social networks increase the chances of random connection. Once we connect, how do we draw people into communities?

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