Friday, February 27, 2009

What is Social Media?

So far I've been thinking, searching and reading a lot and have found some interesting sites and information. What I haven't found however is a simple, step-by-step guide to understanding social media and how best to utilize it. With that in mind I'm going to approach this blog a little like a classroom (where I am a student too!) and start out with the ABC's and work my way up.

That being said I think that we (ok, I mean me) need to get a clear definition of Social Media. I'm going to write below a short synopsis of my personal understanding of the definition of Social Media based on my research.

Please feel free to comment and criticize but remember I'm going for simplicity here!

Social Media Definition:

1) New technologies enabling anyone to collaboratively create, spread, and access information.

2) Communication in “traditional” media such as newspapers, books, radio and television can’t be altered once it is created, whereas, in social media content can evolve and change after its initial creation. Example: you can leave a comment on a blog or change an entry to Wikipedia.

3) Social media is changing how people interact with and relate to each other (let's talk about impact later!).

And my favourite, simple definition:

4) "Social media is something we engage in rather than consume"

(from a comment by Michael O'Connor Clarke taken from a posting on ProPR).

So, it seems Social Media has 4 main parts:



Below I've posted a video link to Common Craft where Social Media is explained in a simple,entertaining and informative video.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Starting out: Figuring my way around social media

I'm new to this - new and a little terrified. I've always thought of blogging as a bit like exposing my diary to the world. The last time I wrote a diary, was full of stories of embarrassing crushes and rage against my parent's rules! (All those entries by the way have been long since destroyed).

So why am I doing this now? Well, I am a communications professional and I am expanding my area of expertise to include social media. Even though I am admittedly a Facebook addict and plan my life through email, until the past year I hadn't fully utilized the power and effectiveness of social media. The 'ah-ha' moment came when I started using LinkedIn on a regular basis I began receiving unsolicited job offers! Since then I've approached social media like a school project and I've been reading blog after blog, article after article on how to get yourself, your business, or your cause out there and seen by millions of people. It's amazing. Amazing and overwhelming.

Each piece of good advice I found linked me to another one, and another, and another. All good but at first I was overwhelmed and felt like I was researching and researching but coming up with too many unclear answers and even more questions! What I really wanted was an A-Z instruction manual on social media but I couldn't find one.

I figure there are a number of people out there are in the same boat I was, so I've decided to make the main topic of my blog about how on earth I figured (or continue to figure) out and best use this whole social media thing! I'll pass on all the knowledge I've gained, any good and clear information I get, links to interesting sites, thoughts etc.

So this is a call out for help/advice/queries or just plain frustration from anyone out there who is experienced or just figuring things out. Would love to hear about you and your experiences!

Hope this is a help to all of us!

A few excellent posts I have read include:

Liajen's Blog - Have You Considered How You Will Position Yourself In Social Media?

Very good points she brings up about having a plan before you dive into Social Media. I'm working on mine!

The Secret to Building a Popular Blog and Getting Tons of Readers - written by Maki

Great article and one I'm going to need to read again and again to get everything out of it!