Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Why Should You Be Involved in Social Media?

© www.XKCD.com
Now that I've shown you the basic tools needed to create your social media portfolio, it’s time to go on the search for more social platforms. As much as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have a lot of hype around them – beautifully portrayed in the form of a world map here, courtesy of XKCD – there are plenty of other tools that may suit your particular interests better. For example, Tumblr is a blogging site which appeals to artists because of its update immediacy and its support of all media types. Xing is similar to LinkedIn, and more popular in continental Europe due to more versatile services and simply because it originated there. And there's still good old MySpace, primarily popular among musicians and stalkers.
While pretty much everyone you know has a Facebook account, and although Twitter gets more mentions than Chilean miners, there's one important thing to remember: There are tools for general networking purposes, and specialised tools for more targeted usages. So hop online and seek out platforms that will allow you to achieve your goals more easily – be they meeting new people, advancing in your professional career or simply sharing stuff with your family and friends.
© www.seopher.com
Here are some of my personal favorites:
For photographers – PictureSocial
For designers and developers – DesignFloat
For travelers – Dopplr
For the younger ones – NetLog
For people who hate Facebook – Diaspora

So, why use social media?
1. Get Connected
You may THINK you're the only one out there whose entire life revolves around collecting every single Star Wars stormtrooper toy ever made. Well, let me tell you, you're not.
Apart from confirming that oddballs are no longer in the minority, social media has one particularly endearing power: It brings people together, lets you share your passions and find others of like mind. That can be very useful when you're trying to move ahead in life, stormtrooper or not.
2. Share Your Knowledge
The invention of the blog was as pivotal as the printing press, in my opinion. Writing a blog can change your life. Literally. Like books, blogs provide a wonderful opportunity to share our knowledge, thoughts and experiences with the world. We can do so for free, instantly and across borders. If that's not a step towards a more equal world, I don't know what is.
3. Influence People
Perhaps you know more about a certain topic than those around you. Your experience and understanding could prove indispensable to others. From revolutionary thinkers like Seth Godin to simple Tweeters who make life-changing decisions, everyone has the chance to influence those around them with social media.
© www.chordstrike.com
4. Have an opinion
Your individual role and online activity in social media are incredibly important, as they can shape the future of a world currently overrun by intrusive consumerism. People like me have a set goal around social media: we want it to change the way we live and consume.
You might notice that some of your friends often post an update asking for advice about something they want to buy. You might also notice that these updates usually generate a large amount of comments. This process is a key instrument in changing consumerism! If we all voiced our opinions and shared knowledge with our friends to help them buy the right product, companies would have to completely redesign the way the communicate with us... and it would be mutually beneficial. Big bad corpo guy will have to 'sit' with you, attentively listening to what you want! Goodbye fake promises, hello free community information and direct contact between the client and company! Ah, to dream.
So get involved, write a blog, answer your friends asking for advice on their Facebook page. You never know, someone might just listen to you, and change your world for the better.
Next up: How to view social media... as a business.

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