Making social networking sites work

LA Canada

The sun pierced through the windows of La Cañada High's library on a recent afternoon, forcing a group of panelists to don sunglasses.

Long after most students had gone home, La Cañada High School 9/12's library opened its doors June 2 for a seminar on social networking.

"Little did we know, the future is so bright we'd have to wear shades," panelist Lindsay Bozzani joked.

The event included a number of tech-savvy speakers, including Kathy Hernandez, Cater Lee, Jamie Lewsadder, Nick Loui and Lisa Singelyn. About a dozen people attended the event, most drawn to the talk by a Facebook invite.

"It's us creating content instead of a panel of experts," Bozzani said. "Web 2.0 is made up of collaboration and community, which is why we're here today."

Singelyn spoke on how companies, large or small, can use social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to their advantage.

"The more connected you are, the better it is for your company or personal brand," said Singelyn, a publicist and social media specialist who works for Counterintuity. Singelyn has helped a number of clients, from universities to politicians, market themselves on social networking sites.

Loui is a La Cañada Flintridge resident and junior marketing student at Emerson College in Boston. He has worked on social media and Web design for a number of clients, recently working on Mountain Dew's "DEWmocracy campaign."

"Web 2.0 is about creating a global conversation, and it's no longer a one-way street," Loui said. "The power has shifted into our own hands instead of the large corporations. We have become our own media vehicle."

Loui said people are turning to Facebook or Twitter to get up-to-the-minute news from their friends instead of from news sites. Loui used the example of last year's fires as an instance where he turned to Facebook to hear the news from his friends.

Lee, an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist, said social media has dramatically affected her field, saying Station fire coverage proved this. "When the fires were going on, I turned to social media and saw my profession go away," Lee said.

Hernandez, a website designer, blogger and the PTA president at LCHS, talked about the necessity of social networking. At the same time, Hernandez touched on the importance of maintaining balance between one's real life and online life.

"We need to figure out a balance between how much time you spend on the computer at social networking sites and how much you spend in your real life," Hernandez said.

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