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It’s evident in the rise of internet personalities like Tila Tequila. She built a brand – annoying as it is – merely based on accumulating a bunch of friends on MySpace. Not many people really get why she’s famous, but hey, it hasn’t stopped her from making cash off that mystery.

Then, there are also people like Natasha Eubanks, founder of the blog, Young Black and Fabulous, who recently appeared on the cover of Black Enterprise after it was reported her site earned $1,000,000 a year.

Can’t forget about Eskay, who left the magazine world to create Nah Right, the hip-hop blog with a popularity that rivals that of the old magazines he used to work for. And I quote: “Take that, take that.”

More business minded people can look to start ups like eBay and Craigslist for inspiration on how to use the ‘net to build a successful business and brand. If you are not looking to start a new enterprise but are just looking to have your voice heard and/or have your products consumed far and wide, you need to get with free social networking such as YouTube, Vimeo, FlickR along with free blogging software such as WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr. But, in order to maximize their full potential you must learn search engine optimization – known as SEO.

SEO incorporates the use of specific key words and phrases to target web searches in order to boost your website’s presence. The more you turn up in Google, Yahoo, and Bing searches the more people will see what you have to say or sell.

It’s also imperative to use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These allow you to be the best self-promoter you can be through their respective feeds that can automatically link whatever you publish directly to your friends and followers. You can also use each site to build relationships with like-minded people who can assist you in gaining greater attention.

The Web can take you places you never thought you’d go.

That is, if you’re smart. Social media sites can be just as harmful as they are helpful. There have been people – some famous, some trying to be – that have hurt their images after exposing just how silly and simple they can be.

With that said, if you don’t act like someone who sniffs White Out and eats Vaseline (See Stephon Marbury), you’ll be straight. But if you’re the type of person known for making big goofs and are quick to offend many at random, do yourself a favor and pour Kool-Aid on your keyboard now before you really get yourself into trouble.
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