Have You Resolved to Blog in 2012? Small Business Bloggers Unite in Alexandria, Virginia.

Blogging is for everyone, even small businesses.So, you’ve created a Facebook Page, updated your LinkedIn profile, and you have a Twitter profile, yet you’re not swimming in “Likes” and “Followers” in either social network. While you hear about new Social Media sites launching every month, you feel it’s a waste of time to invest in every tech start-up that hangs their shingle out. And, I agree. Well, it’s a new year and a good at a time as any for a strategic marketing plan, that should include a small business blog to help plan, motivate and drive site traffic. In the meantime, I’m going to tell you what I tell every audience I talk to about the foundation of Social Media: blog. Yup, that’s it–a plain and simple strategy to jump-start your Social Media campaign in 2012. Stay tuned for a series of articles here that will cover blogging for Small Business!

If you don’t know how, and you live or run a small business in Alexandria, Virginia, you can get some great assistance by joining the Small Business Bloggers in the Alexandria Small Business .COMmunity here at AlexandriaSmallBusiness.com. It’s not only a community blog about the great things that Small Business is doing in Alexandria, but the products and services they provide, and advice to start, manage and grow your Small Business in general from the folks over at the Alexandria Small Business Development Center in Alexandria, Virginia.


Photo courtesy of The Library of Congress

DC Launches New Internet Infrastructure. Will it Help Anyone?

D.C. Becomes The First 100-Gigabit City

Erwin Morales: vonkinder (on flickr) via wamu.org

As you might very easily presume about me, I’m a strong proponent of advancing broadband and wireless Web access in the United States. So, when I learned that the DC government (using federal stimulus funding) launched their new high-speed, 100 Gb/s fiber-optic network, DC Community Access Network (DC-CAN), I was pretty excited. What’s 100 Gb/s? Let’s say you were sitting at your computer, hooked up to router that could actually pipe 100 Gb/s to your computer without frying the hard drive, and you were going to download a full-length feature film to your computer to view. It would download so quickly, your processor would need to catch up with the data speed and it’d download in about the blink of an eye (literally, ergo about 400 milliseconds). With that kind of power now lit up in our Nation’s Capital, we’ll have greater broadband access for luring tech companies, will establish a stronger connection to our municipal government services for its taxpayers, and residents (including many work-at-home Small Business owners) and businesses will have better access and competition in the Internet services market. Enter the problem: this won’t actually do any of that.

Once you read the fine print of what Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray and his administration say, you find that the network will only be given access to the municipal government right now. How is that supposed to spur economic development and attract new and growing businesses (especially tech companies) to the Metropolitan Washington area? And, with even the network available to the municipal government only, the agencies really haven’t been planning all that well to use the network yet (at least not publicly and without the polity’s inclusion). With the slow to nonexistent use of DC-CAN by municipal agencies, the services needing access on the W3 by taxpayers (businesses and residents, alike) continues to be limited on both sides. Ultimately, programs like this should benefit the People; and we know that it’s the “last mile” that really needs solving (which I personally believe should be using Mobile to fix) and this DC government project doesn’t quite address the challenge at its core. From the various news outlets that reported on it, it sounds like the “digital divide” isn’t budging anywhere for the better, since it relaxes some of the regulations and infrastructure hurdles for the telecommunications industry but you can bet that residential and commercial denizens won’t see any reduction in pricing or availability any time soon. I won’t even get into my main complaint about the problems of degradation of fiber-optic networks like DC-CAN, since the main problems (of limited government access and implementation, no economic development plan in place, and no greater competition in the market to benefit Small Business) makes this project in serious need of re-assessment in my opinion.

What do you think the DC government should do with DC CAN to improve the digital divide and help Small Business owners? What programs are available in your city, county or state, and how can they be improved?