There's been a great deal of buzz focused on sites like MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Digg. These sites and many others (I do mean MANY) are part of the social media optimization phenomenon that is sweeping the web. The sites foster community building via information creation and sharing by the community, for the community. Creating and uploading videos on YouTube or photos on Flickr could create some exposure and lead to more web traffic if your content catches the attention of the community. You can also share information, suggestions and opinions on subject matters of interest. And if you write an interesting article which gets submitted to Digg or Reddit you could see a huge spike in traffic if your article gets promoted to either home page (Digg is a top 100 site and Reddit a top 800). That's some good stuff if you're into video and/or photo-sharing, or maybe writing and reading a lot of technology focused content. But what if you aren't?
Contrary to popular belief, most small businesses are not web-savvy tech startups. In fact the majority of small business are still involved in those boring, traditional money making businesses. And contrary to the belief of those traditional money making small businesses, there are places on the web you can use to share information and learn more about putting the latest technology to good "business use". One such site I recently came across is JumpUp.com. This site has many Web 2.0 characteristics like bookmarks, tags, showcasing community members, content rating and a few others. You can also invite other community members into your own private network which is nice. There are no RSS feeds and you can't write comments (you can only use 1-5 ranking scheme) so it's not totally on par with the above mentioned sites, but it has enough to work with. This is not earth shattering stuff, but what is really nice about JumpUp.com is that its target audience is not tech-crazed geeks (no disrespect intended) or overly-social teenagers (again no disrespect....), but entrepreneurs and those interesting in starting a business one day. So you'll see a lot of articles and other resources focusing on developing business plans, finding capital, marketing and other topics of great importance to regular business folks. And because its built with the some of the latest web concepts, it's a nice, subliminal introduction to some very important developments.
The really interesting thing about JumpUp.com is that Intuit put it together. Give them credit for "getting" small business and also getting the importance of using the latest web tools and strategies. They are one of the leaders of the old school software companies when it comes to embracing the new and wedding it to the tried and true. Hopefully other small business software mainstays will do the same. Plus they made sure that JumpUp wasn't a marketing site for their products and services, but a genuine resource and community for entrepreneurs. So do yourself a favor and check it out.