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GM Finds its ’space

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So you’ve reconnected with Friendster, shared music and movie picks with your Facebook and MySpace “friends,” tried some of those special-interest social networking site, and even gotten uncomfortably personal with your coworkers or that intern from the past on LinkedIn.

What next? For die-hard fans of the General, and those who might just be a little GM-curious, there’s GMnext.

The site, at GMnext.com, in theory asks some rather overwhelming, seemingly open-ended questions regarding, for instance, what we will power vehicles with in 20 years, how we can deal with increasing competition for resources and make personal transportation more sustainable, and what role the auto industry will play in developing markets.

The launch of the forward-focused Web site, which prefaces a series of themed activities that will begin this month and culminate in a September celebration called GMnext Days, is part of the company’s centennial celebration this year.

Initially, GM says in its release, GMnext will showcase GM’s next-generation vehicles and technologies, such as its E-Flex drive system, upcoming Plug-In hybrid powertrains, and so-called Two-Mode hybrids—all of which are of interest to the younger, more educated, and more environmentally aware buyer base that the automaker needs to appeal more to. In scanning contents of the site, we also found a release on the fifth anniversary of GM Daewoo, a podcast promoting OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Slowdown feature, and coverage of the automaker’s recent concept cars.

However, as most social networking sites, it’s designed to encourage comments and multi-media input from the general public, which may yield an odd mix of advertising, public relations, and home-grown, YouTube-like video clips—becoming a type of organic advertising, if it goes well.

GM may, of course, remove a posting at any time at its discretion. --Bengt Halvorson

See how GM's getting another jolt of PR out of the Volt plug-in hybrid
 
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