ICSC Social Network.
Networking within the shopping center industry is about to get a lot simpler, with the advent of ICSC’s very own social network, which will be accessible at ICSC.org/community. The platform’s official launch is slated for the the beginning of 2012.
Members will not have to sign up to begin using the ICSC Social Network, as it is not a separate Web site, but an extension of the current site. Instead of using the member lookup function at the ICSC Web site to then contact someone through Facebook or LinkedIn or by e-mail, members can now send each other direct messages and establish Facebook- or LinkedIn-style networks through the site.
Like Facebook but unlike LinkedIn, the ICSC Social Network works with multimedia. Members can customize their profiles and add or share videos, links and other media. “This network came from how our members were already utilizing the [existing] site,” said Sarah Malcolm, ICSC’s manager of new media, who oversaw creation of the platform with Nate Lockard, ICSC’s Web master and Web project manager. “When we look at the top 10 hits that we get every month, it’s all about networking: member lookup, finding which people are at a certain event. This is a natural progression in supporting how people already use our site, giving them the tools to make networking even easier.”
Instead of having to piece together contacts through the usual social-media platforms, ICSC members will be able to connect with all 55,000 of their fellow members instantly. “There’s going to be one place where everybody is,” Lockard said. “When we looked around, we saw a lot of associations had just added on a social-media piece that seemed separate from the rest of their site. We wanted to make things seamless. Members are already looking up people’s profiles on a regular basis. Now they’re going to see a new profile with a lot more information flowing into it.”
It is anticipated that the new platform will increase the amount of time ICSC members spend on the Web site. “Before, people would grab the information and leave,” Malcolm said. “Now, with one click of a button, they can send a message saying, ‘Hey, let’s meet!’ while they are on the ICSC site, instead of copying and pasting the information into their calendar. It’s all there.” Those not wishing to receive particular message alerts can opt accordingly. “If a person doesn’t want to have people in their network, they just don’t accept those network invitations,” Malcolm said. “You don’t have to reciprocate, but, hopefully, people will.”
The platform was built in collaboration with New York City–based KIT Digital, which has developed social-networking platforms for the likes of the BBC, NBC Universal and Scripps Networks. “This is progressive,” Malcolm said. “Other associations have social networks, but we wanted to go above and beyond, to lead the way in technology and social media.”
Watch It Work.
ICSC Social Network Professional Network Tutorial- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UN6g6c1lHT0
ICSC Social Network Tutorial Video Member Search- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=212XKzyqlfI
ICSC Social Network Discussions Video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofzjEo6BLQc