Thursday, January 20, 2011

Social Media Favorites

Ever since the explosion of the Facebook,  social media has become one of the fastest growing industries in the country.    More and more applications and tools are being developed and created to enhance user-generated content.    For most people, social media is a favorite past-time.   Who hasn't felt guilty after realizing you have been on Facebook for over an hour instead of doing homework/work?    Or have zoned out on google reader and lost track of time because you just COULD NOT stop reading all of the blog post's you have missed....... I am guilty as charged.

But really,  isn't it amazing to think how far social media has come?   I feel like I am an "elder" when I say to my sister sometimes, "I remember the day I found out about the Facebook.   It was the coolest thing to be on in college!"

Now, people from all age groups, baby boomers to Gen Y are on this social network.    Did you know that if Facebook was a country it would be the 3rd largest country in the WORLD??   How is that for a factoid (read more here).   Facebook is just one communication channel people are using on a daily basis.   There are so many applications you can use nowadays and I am constantly trying to keep up with the trends.    Do you know what each icon stands for in this image?     These are just a few of the applications that are available.

So as a way to keep up with the trends and how to use social media professionally and individually, I have started attending events hosted by the Social Media Club Chicago.   Tonight I will be attending my third event that is being hosted by Morningstar, Inc.    The event is about Community Outlook in 2011.   Basically what predictions, trends, and things we can expect this year.   I can't wait to find out.

As a social media guru/junky,  I participate in and use a variety of applications, such as Foursquare, Groupon, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Delicious just to name a few.   I just cannot get enough!!    Each social media application has it own unique perks and benefits.    If you are interested in becoming more social media savvy I recommend you try these applications to see what you like and don't like.

You may be thinking, what is Foursquare and why is it such a big deal?    Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore.   By “checking in” via a smartphone app or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual badges.   This new application is quickly becoming one of the most popular and highly used sites.     People love the "game" aspect and that you can benefit by "checking" into places.    I love it and am somewhat addicted.    Locations have started offering special deals to Foursquare users and sometimes offer only special deals to "The Mayor" which makes you want to rank in the "visits" to obtain Mayorship.   How can that not influence you to check in to places?

Stumbleupon.     StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites.    Stumbleupon uses / ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality.    When you stumble, you will only see pages that friends and like-minded stumblers have recommended.    I really enjoy using this because it helps me "save" a webpage that I like, find recipes, websites, etc. that I normally would have never found just surfing the web.    The best part of using this application is that you get to choose your interests so that you stumble upon places on the web that fit within your criteria.   The list is endless.    Some of my interests for this application include, cooking, health, working out,  weddings/events, reading, and travel.

Twitter.    Twitter, tweeting, tweet, followers?   What are these crazy weird terms?   In short, twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting.    Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations.    It is sort of like the status feed on Facebook but it has it is it's own application.   You have a profile, followers, people who are following you and you can recently upload a picture.    A tweet consists of a message that is 160 characters or less long.   A character includes a space and emoticons.   You can even follow me.

Did I overwhelm you?    I promise it gets easier with use and reading up on the applications.    One of the best resources I use to find our information about social media is Mashable.    I highly recommend this site for all technology and social media information.

Social Media is going to be around forever at this point and no signs of ever slowing down.    Social  Media is like the worldwide web when it first came out.   People were hesitant, unsure how it works but if you don't join in on the online conversations now, down the road you will be even more behind.    Social Media is becoming a huge part of the work model for corporations, organizations and foundations.   

What social media applications do you use?    What is your favorite or one you are currently "addicted" too?   I would love to hear what you use and/or applications you recommend I try.  

“Social media is like a snowball rolling down the hill. It’s picking up speed. Five years from now, it’s going to be the standard.” – Jeff Antaya, chief marketing officer of Plante Moran

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