So another New Year’s Eve has past and on the night I found myself singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ with an assorted mix of friends and strangers (and of course helped along with a beer or three). I’ll be honest we didn’t sound great, but the sentiment was there.

For the uninitiated, the song is a call to remember past friendships and poses a rhetorical question, “Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne?” – well Robert Burns – I think the world of social media has finally answered that question for you.

While I will probably contact only a handful of the people in my ‘friends’ list in the New Year, I won’t be feeling the need to have a cull of those who I don’t interact with on a regular basis (or ever). Why? Because this is a network of really useful people I have built up. Selfish I know, but one day that person I sat next to at a seminar 6 years ago (and never talk to on Facebook) may be a person that I will want to contact in the future.

Somehow, the people you spent years trying to ignore and avoid at school because they were too cool/not cool enough/stole your lunch money/smelt funny/had fleas, have all caught up with you, not only that, they want to be your friend – and shockingly you want to be theirs (if only to find out if your life turned out better than theirs). But they are also business owners, tradesmen and professionals and they all want to be ‘liked’. What’s more, your business can probably offer them all something and they almost certainly have a service or connections that you need.

2011 will bring many new surprises for us all, but two things in the world of Search Engine Marketing that are almost certain are the growing importance of ‘likes’ in search rankings and the value of social media marketing. If you’re not already doing it, you’re already behind the pack – the more people who ‘like’ you, ‘tweet’ about you and post links to your web site in social media, the higher your website’s page rank will grow.

There is no hiding from it, old acquaintances cannot be forgotten, no matter how hard you try. So make the most of it and go get your car cleaned by that bloke who was in your Year 9 class who was going to be a professional footballer (and make sure he ‘likes’ you!).

Image credit on Flickr