I’ve been learning a lot over the past several weeks about social media. Sometimes too much for my good I suppose, such as reading and following “streams” of bitter conversations between famous celebrities cursing it out with each other on Twitter. That was an hour of my life this morning that I will never get back but it was hard not to get sucked into the celebrity drama with them. It started with a strange tweet that seemed out of place and next thing you know I’m digging in the history of short messages trying to piece it all together.
Maybe that’s why social media such as Twitter and Facebook are so powerful, it allows for the general public to “follow” whichever celebrities or businesses they want and connect with them instantly. You no longer have to be “approved” to “follow” or “like” them. The power has shifted to the public and it’s up to you whether you want to follow them. Even if a celebrity wanted message or tweet their friends, the conversation becomes public for everyone to see. Therefore anyone following that celebrity can share that personal/public space with them. With facebook, it was personal at first because you had to be approved and added to be “friends” with them but now users get to choose who they want to “follow” in Twitter or “like” in Facebook.
With the number of people who follows or likes a person or brand, it is displayed near the top where you can easily access how popular they are. To me it’s almost like a popularity contest.
So which social media tools are most popular and which one should you be using? It depends on what you are trying to achieve. I love these infographics that display all the information you want in a picture form. Instead of just displaying everything in plain old words, the information is graphically displayed in a clever way where the information gets your attention and goes straight to the point.
Infographic provided by Chris Taylor from Mashable
Here’s a brief summary of the top five social networks available:
Facebook: A social networking platform that allows people and businesses to create a webpage within the network. Once you create your page, then you start creating ads where you want to try and get people to “like” you. If they really like you then they will share your posts with their friends. If this is for personal use then you can allow Facebook to access your email address book and quickly connect you with your contacts that are already on facebook. Once you have friends, facebook will even “suggest” people you may know. Next thing you know, you have hundreds of friends. The average facebook user has
Linked In: Many people don’t want to mix business and pleasure so Linked In would be a more appropriate choice where you can create a professional profile to connect and network with people on a more professional level.
Pinterest: A virtual pin board where you can collect pictures or topics that interest you and that can be shared with whomever you like. I know a lot of people who are into cooking, baking or do-it-yourself projects like to collect their favorite recipes and tips and puts it all together with pinterest. A great way to share what your interests are and what inspires you.
Twitter: A micro blogging service where you can “tweet” (send a brief message, limited to 140 characters) in to this website. This allows for quick, straight to the point updates. I had to learn a lot of twitter terminology that I wasn’t familiar with before. Here is a brief of what I have learned so far:
Hashtag “#” – put this symbol in front of the subject you are talking about. This allows members to easily do a search under that topic.
Connect “@” – put this symbol in front of member(s) you are sending a message to. This message isn’t private but it will be directed at them and they will be notified.
Retweet – Use this when you come across a tweet that you like and you want to share it with everyone who’s following you.
Direct message “DM” – put this in front of the @username to send them a direct, private message. The person must be following you too.
Tagged: According to wikipedia, this site is described as “social discovery website, allowing members to openly browse the profiles of other members and interact with them by playing games, making friends, flirting, sharing tags and virtual gifts.”
I believe social media has become so popular because connecting with people has never been easier. It also allows for people to have web presence, a form of social expression and to feel part of something. It allows for people to be heard and a medium to express their opinion in a safe way. I say safe because you are not physically standing in front of people asserting your opinions on others. You are behind a computer, maybe miles away, being connected through internet infrastructure and media platforms. You can choose who you want to associate with and block those who you don’t.
The BEST thing about these networking site is they are FREE to join! However you want to connect with the public, just remember to choose your words wisely because once you put it out there it becomes public! I wish you all good luck on your social media endeavours!