Connecting local in a globalized world

SocialightImagine you leave a restaurant and would like to share your thoughts with anyone nearby, or picture yourself standing in an unknown place while reading notes that have been left there from previous visitors or even your friends.

“Urban spaces are increasingly densely populated,” said Dan Melinger, a resident of New York City. “People live in these spaces but may not even know what their neighbors think of the environment that they share.”

By leveraging existing technologies, socialight.com offers a platform that allows people to connect and share the content that is important to them, and allows brands to provide content related to the areas they and their customers inhabit.

Socialight was founded by Melinger, a graduate of New York University, in 2005 but didn’t find its legs until social media exploded and mobile technology caught up to his dream of connecting people in dense urban environments with each other.

Today, devices like the iPhone can locate users and turn them into multimedia producers with the push of a button. It has made existing technologies available to the masses, said Melinger, whose company has grown with these developments.

Networks promise recession victims entrepreneurial edge

USA/“So you’ve been laid off. That sucks. But it doesn’t have to.” Those are the first words of encouragement offered up to visitors upon landing at the website for The Runway Project, a new venture that helps recently laid-off individuals start their own companies. Call it small-business networking, recession-style.

The project’s more than just a virtual affair, though. Since launching the group in March, founder Tony Bacigalupo and his affiliates have been busy hosting free get-togethers in New York City for would-be entrepreneurs on everything from the mechanics of starting a business to tips on building a personal brand. Another upcoming session promises a crash course on bookkeeping for startups.

The meetings are also a forum for brainstorming with other like-minded people and small-business experts. “Insanely helpful! Having a group of people to brainstorm with is priceless,” wrote one woman, who attended an April session, in a comment on the group’s website. And other comments suggest some are eager to get branches up and running in other U.S. cities, too.

Is it time to get Twitter-fied?

twitterYou know something has buzz when it makes the leap from noun to verb. Like Google before it, Twitter — a social networking site that lets users follow and communicate with each other via 140 character messages, known as “tweets” — is raising the eyebrows from the big business gurus at Starbucks to small businesses like the local bakery.

Can 140 characters revolutionize your business?  If that possibility isn’t already on the mind of every marketing whiz across the globe, then maybe it should be.

Twitter aims to keep people connected by asking one basic question: What are you doing? Naturally, this invites an avalanche of answers of the banal “clipping-my-toenails-on-the-couch” variety.  On the flipside, businesses are starting to recognize it can be a free, highly-effective tool for communicating with customers. (Emphasis on free.)