If you missed the intro in Part 1, read it here. Your first assignment is to take the first step toward understanding “what’s out there?” I urge you to not be offended by any of my recommendations, nor to skip this step. Many of you already know your way around the Internet, and if that’s you, approach this as though you’re taking a vacation in your hometown: See things you’ve already seen with fresh eyes and an eager mind. Adopt the Shoshin, or Beginner’s Mind, of Zen Buddhism. Here’s the homework:
- If you don’t already have one, set up a Facebook account. Fill out your profile with your interests – books, music, movies, activities. Fill in a bit of info about your education and work history. Don’t skip these things, they’re key to understanding the experience.
- Visit your Facebook page once a day to try out at least one of the following things:
- Write a status message. Don’t overthink it, you’re just dipping your toe in the pool. Talk about something you read, saw, or did that was interesting to you, and see what kind of conversation ensues.
- Click on Friends in the left column, and use one of the options to add some friends.
- Keep an eye on the right column under Sponsored for ads that interest you. Click a few.
- Click on the photo or name of one of your friends. Look over their page, check out their photos, and write something on their Wall.
- Set up Google Alerts. Set up alerts for your name, your business name, and three or four topics that interest you (sports, music, film, current events, for example). Choose the Everything, Once a Day, and Only Best Results options. You can easily adjust these settings if you’re getting too much or too little.
- Do you have an iPhone or Android phone? Get a Foursquare account and download the application to your phone. Check in at all the restaurants, coffee shops, stores, and other destinations you visit over the next couple of weeks. See what happens.
- The next few times you do an Internet search, try one of the other search engines. If you usually use Google, use Bing. If you’re a Yahoo regular, try Google. If you have time, try the same search on more than one engine. Each time, take a moment to skim over everything on the search results page: the header, the sidebars, the footer, search results, ads, and tools alike.
Mark Your Calendar to Check Back In
If you’re already an RSS cognoscenti, subscribe to my blog so you’ll know when I post the next part of this series. Bring your notes. In the meantime, have fun, explore, and start loading up the comments section with your questions and ideas. What have I missed already? What’s keeping you up at night?