Sunday, April 12, 2009

Social Media 101

I am getting a lot of questions about social media lately. You know, just because I wear box-frame glasses and am skinny doesn't mean that I'm a computer nerd. Even though I kind of am. And so what that I do know what I'm doing with computers and junk.

Anyway. Social media is the fancy term given to the hugely growing phenomenon of websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and all that fun/exciting stuff. You may have heard the term "Web 2.0" for it. Web 2.0 simply means user-created sites, like a blog that people can comment on, or a MySpace page, or your Facebook page. The sites where all the coding is already done for you.

I first heard about blogging in high school about 7 years ago. I signed up for Facebook in 2005, but canceled my account with the message "Zuckerberg is a sellout" when they opened it up to the public instead of just college students. It's all great fun, but what I keep hearing when I am talking to people about this stuff is "Who cares?"

Excellent question. The short answer is nobody. And everybody.

When I first heard about Twitter I thought it was the dumbest thing imagineable. I remember thinking, "Who cares what I'm wearing right now? Or that I'm mowing the lawn? Seriously?"

And the answer is nobody. Nobody cares if your haven't showered yet. Or what mood you're in.

But what I have come to realize is that there is a huge power in these little updates.

In the past 3 or 4 jobs I have had, I spent a lot of time texting while I was working. In fact, everyone did. You have a lull, and you text your friend to say hi. They text back while your busy, and you answer them an hour later, but the conversation is still going, regardless of what else is going on. It brings continuity to background noise.

I think of Twitter as the same sort of thing. The thing that got me really hooked was that you can text your tweets, and that can link to your Facebook page as a status update. So say you are going into a meeting, or closing a sale with a client. You text "Closing another one, it's been a great week!" and all of a sudden all your friends, followers, and possible future clients can see that your busy and doing business. Powerful.

There are really countless possibilities here. I talked to a Realtor in Chicago a couple weeks ago who tweeted everything from quotes to stats to links to tax and mortgage information. Smart.

Add into that the power to hit your blog, your Facebook, and all your Twitter followers from a 5 second text message on the run. Man, this is really damn cool.

Now I'm not saying I know everything there is to know, but I do know a thing or two about how and why you should spend a little time to get onto these sites. And use them. Twitter especially requires minimal maintenance.

And hell, it's a blast.

So join in the conversation. I have learned a ton already, and this stuff is onlt getting bigger. Facebook hit its 200 MILLIONTH user last week for cryin' out loud.

And on that note, follow me on Twitter!

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