Participation is the new Location

“Location Location Location” that is the old saying you used to hear about real estate, setting up a business, owning a restaurant and just about everything else. This mantra even migrated to the web during the dot com boom when everybody needed to have an easy to remember domain name.

In today’s world participation is the new location. You no longer need to have the best real estate, whether virtual or brick and mortar, to have a successful business. What you do need is the ability to participate. Whether you are participating at your own site or at another community site, your voice is becoming an essential piece of your companies success. It is no longer simply about throwing up a static website – you need to be a person proactively participating with your current and potential audience.

Domain names with generic terms and type in traffic are not performing like they used to. Advanced linking algorithms take into account the old ways of “cheating” the system and content and activity are playing a larger role. The other great part about this movement is that participation breeds more participation. I cannot tell you how many times I have written a post, that once it gets one comment many will follow. Many posts have either zero comments or multiple conversation threads.

This is happening in the form of content aggregation but also comment aggregation. These services also promote your participation by having a unique login that works across multiple sites. I have found that when I am on a blog or other site that already has me logged in I am more likely to comment – and I am not alone.

The underlying architecture and glue that is keeping the web moving is the conversations that start to occur once someone has sparked the meme on their blog, comment, or micro-blog location. What follows is certainly a new sum of its parts. Links from Twitter, images from Flickr, new thoughts on Friendfeed, and many other services are all weaving the participation web.

All this can be summarized in perpetuating your own personal brand and reputation via these services. You can no longer stand on your own (blog) podium and expect others to show up – you have to get out there and be heard. Your brand is now the sum of its parts which extend well beyond your storefront or domain.