The internet is like one giant playground. Or is it more of a city? There is so much to do online these days. There are malls, museums, business centers, networking groups, and the list continues.
If you can simply expand your imagination for a few minutes, work with me on this concept. If every time you signed onto the internet you entered a new city, what would it look like?
Does your city only include Facebook, Google and MSN?
Is it a mix of Twitter, CNN, StumbleUpon, World of Warcraft, Reddit and a few others?
Maybe it’s your blog, Facebook, Mashable and BuildingABrandOnline.com and others?
Every person has their own, unique experience of the internet and that’s awesome.
It’s exactly how it’s meant to be. My questions is, what does your online city look like – and more importantly, what do you want it to look like?
Every city must include:
Buildings – Buildings include websites, blogs, social networking profiles.
Roads – This is like the flow of traffic, marketing and getting people into your building.
People – These are your friends, subscribers, customers and fans.
Just like in a big city, people move in and out of buildings of various shapes and sizes throughout their day and will end up spending money in some of them. The more buildings you create and the better they are connected (via roads) the more likely your buildings are to be filled up with people. Just like in real life, people make decisions on which buildings should receive their money.
So just like a real city, a lot goes on and at different times of the day, different places are more lively than others.
Thinking about virtual real estate excites me. Let’s expand this concept a little further:
Virtual Real estate analogy
Your URL or domain name is like your mailing address. (Location! Location! Location!)
Your hosting payment is your lease on the virtual land.
Your site’s design or theme is the architecture and painting.
Consider this about your online city:
Will you hang out in the same 3-4 stores (kinda like I did in middle school)? Or will you venture out and find new, rare and exciting places? Will you share your new finds with your friends, or will you keep them a secret? Will you go to the city to spend money, or to make money?
What will you build?
Will you participate in the virtual land grab and start buying domain names and making Facebook groups. (Groups, yeah its a land grab) Or will you simply admire what you find and enjoy someone else’s creation? Will you be a thought leader and community organizer? Will you make systems run better? Will you help direct traffic, or sit in it?
There is no right answer here. We’re all where we are for a reason, and we all fit into our cities perfectly. I just wanted to make sure you knew that if you had an idea, that it’s pretty easy to create something powerful with today’s technolgoy.
I have always been fascinated with Donald Trump. Sometimes I admire him, sometimes not, but there is a lot to be said about his ability to turn nothing into something. His ability to create real estate is what fascinates me most.
What is your purpose online?
We can’t all be Donald Trumps. We can’t all just build massive landscrapers online.
Or can we?
Facebook gives us a tall skinny slot for a graphic for our personal and business pages. I see this as a piece of virtual real estate, or a billboard, maybe even an online business card.
Now with the 5 slot banners, we’re all given even more virtual real estate.
Some new tricks about leveraging virtual land within Facebook:
Fully leverage your facebook Skyscraper (most people call these profile pictures – but they’re huge, much more like a skyscraper)
Yeah yeah I know I don’t have mine up yet, doesn’t mean I’m not planning something great.
Did you know it’s 180 pixels by 540 pixels?
Most people won’t agree with me that it’s like a skyscraper and thats probably because they’re not fully leveraging the entire height of it.
Did you know about the 5 picture rotating banner you have as a personal page and a business page?
These are my favorite features about Facebook right now. In a click-happy world, the ability to come across a business page and instantly know what they’re all about is very valuable. Of course, you could just feature 5 random pictures of you and your team… but that’s not nearly as professional as a full billboard ad.
The trick with these banners – get someone who knows a thing about design to do it for you. It’s just way easier that way. I did.
Those are great virtual billboards we can leverage if we choose.
My buddy Dillon Rhodes is an architect and graphic designer and is offering banners for less than fifty bucks. It is pretty amazing to get your message up on your own personal banner. Visit here for details on benefits of banners.
These actually have a sneaky feature. When you click on the image you can send them off to get their free ebook, or a phone number or whatever your call to action might be. It is pretty genius how Facebook set us up for success with these banners if you ask me.
The opportunities are endless
Back to the topic, what does your online city look like? What COULD it look like?
Whatever it looks like today, it will be different next year, all based off our decisions we make today.
This is a new twist on this topic and I’ve never written it out like this before – so I’d love any and all feedback. How do you see your online city? I love learning about new places to visit, so feel free to link me to your online city & favorites below.