I’ve written about social media here more than I’d probably like to admit.
These social networking sites are transforming the way we receive our news and information. There’s no secret there.
But they keep popping up, so much so that I’ve stopped joining them, because I never know when enough’s enough.
Newspapers are still figuring out the power of the conversation, and some say that media in general is covering social media more than they are using them. It just seems no one seems interested in deciding what is worth anyone’s time.
The real lesson is that social networking and other media are tools, plainly and simply. Not all are good for everyone.
Facebook — The major player is aiming at being a yellow pages for the future. Anyone you need to find will be there. It’s a shame, then, that I’ve seen increasing levels of spam since I joined last summer, and even more since I credited the network’s value months later.
- People still spend a lot of time on that site and will follow links. They will come to your site with the help of link-posting and an RSS feed.
- By some standards, you don’t exist as a young person — read: potential employee — unless you’re on the social networking behemoth.
- It can be a hub for your other online presences
- It’s so popular that, apparently, with the right people, it can make you a happier person.
- Man, people hated the new Facebook version when it came out, and it seems it continues to be reviled. Put that with the pushback over privacy rights, and you can see a real path toward the site’s demise.
Twitter — I knew Twitter long before I joined it, but a friend warned me it was a time suck. And it is. What’s worse is that it’s become awfully fashionable, as some have complained. That would be fine if it wasn’t bloating the conception of who should be there and what purpose it serves. I did join and, while I have a somewhat small following of 430 or so, I have found by regularly sharing good links, I can bring small pockets of traffic.
- Create a following of people interested in similar things, who can support your writing, products or initiatives
- By following the habits of successful Twitter users, you can pick up standard best practices online, like sharing links, interaction and followup.
- Some say, those followers can lead to employment or other freelance work or assignments.
- Because Twitter is so popular right now, there are a lot of hacks and alternatives coming out that can help you learn Web possibilities and suggestions and tools to make it easier, so you can better understand what’s out there for the future.
- It’s searchability is still janky
- It still goes down on functionality when it’s busy
- It does take more time than other social networking tool because a simple RSS feed is missing the point.
LinkedIn — It aims to be the professional equivalent of Facebook.
- This was my first foray into social networking because it felt the least dirty and self-involved.
- It is meant to be nothing but professional, resume and little else.
- It doesn’t require a lot of effort, and it can be a Web presence left on auto-pilot. I do get some clicks from plopping this WordPress site on my LinkedIn page, as you can do, too.
- Nowhere near as powerful or versatile as Facebook
- Can’t compare with the number of links Facebook or Twitter bring
Industry-specific social-network — I just wrote about an event-planners ISSN for Technically Philly, and there seems to be the most growth in this arena. I am a member of Wired Journalistss. I also joined Uwire while still a college journalist.
Here are some positives:
- Job postings and opportunities worth your time. I got some blogging work from a post on WJ.
- Smaller communities allow you to actually e-meet new people
- Out of your work flow mean you might never ever return after setting it up.
- Show some photography skill by being where many serious photographers are — although there are many alternatives.
- Useful editing and hosting tools there
- Free service is, of course, limited — active photographers will likely find the premium services worth the cost.
- Not as prone for others finding you, so it’s hard to develop brand or expect links or traffic from it.
YouTube –I took a healthy look at YouTube’s value as a social media tool, beyond just watching illegal videos and listening to music.
- It can bring traffic.
- People will likely find your videos.
- And, hey newspapers around the world are on YouTube.
- There are better video hosters, like Viddler and Vimeo.
- It doesn’t seem terribly professional. I think newspapers need to see YouTube as a means to promote their video, but I understand wanting to control their product outside of the site.
- YouTube may be unstable, even with Google ownership
MySpace — I say give it up. Sorry. I took the trouble to joining MySpace last summer, and I even tricked it out a bit for journalists, but I won’t recommend anyone else join. In fact, I trashed it in an entire post dedicated to its shortcomings.
- There are still audiences there.
- It can be incredibly passive after a little time invested to set it up.
- It can be something else that clogs up a Google search for your name, so you can claim another spot.
- It is MySpace
- Can’t post traditional RSS feed
- On the decline
There is value in being on all of these and everywhere else, too, if only just to more aggressively control a Web search of your name. College Media Innovation showed some other examples of brand-development through major publication, but, some choices are worth being made.
- The Winner: With the right attitude, use and effort, right now Twitter brings the best brand development, links and traffic, though your audience matters.
- The Obvious: Joining Facebook may hurt your pride, but real traffic can come from it, if you cast a wide enough net.
- The Loser: MySpace doesn’t give any real quantifiable traffic or brand devlopment you’d want. I guess unless you’re a music artist, there isn’t anything there for you.