Getting your Facebook on


Feel the Facebook

Facebook’s stock is set to begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market today at 11 a.m. EST. This is one day after the world’s definitive online social network raised $16 billion in an initial public offering that valued the company at $104 billion. Facebook’s value is more than and other well-known companies such as Kraft, Walt Disney and McDonald’s.

If you are a stock investor, you might want to pick up a few shares at its opening price of $38.

Facebook’s initial public offering is the culmination of a year’s worth of Internet IPOs that began last May with LinkedIn. Since then, a steady stream of startups focused on the social side of the Web has gone public, with varying degrees of success. It all led up to Facebook, the company that’s come to define social networking by getting 900 million people around the world to share everything from photos of their pets to their deepest thoughts.

I’ve been engaged with social media, including Facebook for several years now. What sold me on the power of Facebook, which I’d been lukewarm about initially, was my son’s walk across America in 2010 and our own road trip to meet up with him in Texas, and our subsequent journey back across the South.

Up until then, I saw Facebook as an online version of high school, with too many invitations to join Farmville and other nonsense (or so I thought). As I began sharing content from our journey and the things we were seeing, taking pictures of our various adventures, blogging about it all, Facebook became the platform where it all came together. People enjoyed it and connected with my wife and I as we covered a lot of miles over two weeks of being on the road. Ever since, I’ve been using it to share content. More important, I’ve come to appreciate using it to engage with others socially. Some of this has been reconnecting with old friends from high school and elsewhere, but also staying in touch with people I’ve met more recently.

As I’ve been experiencing a new chapter in my ongoing reinvention, I clearly see a role for social media. I utilize Twitter also, and I plan to get more active and begin adding new content to my YouTube channel and I need to figure out Pinterest.

Social media enhances my passion for writing and blogging, which I’ve been doing since 2002, and now, I’m taking what I’ve learned and using it to help organizations and small businesses incorporate social media into their marketing and messaging.

This morning, I’ll be sharing a draft of social media guidelines with the board of a nonprofit. I’ve played a key role as a facilitator in helping staff develop guidelines that are both inclusive and represent their values. It’s important to get buy-in for the roll-out of this new social media strategy across the organization.

I know I’ll face questions, and I know I’ll have to fend off the fear that some have that adopting social media as part their marketing somehow equates to a loss of control.

I’m prepared to make my case, and help them understand that nonprofits no longer have a choice. That horse has left the barn. Technology is constantly evolving and social media will be the foundation of the move to Web 3.0, or mobile technology. Nonprofits (and others) that won’t embrace social media and begin using it effectively, will be left behind.