what is social media – challenge 1

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When i first started looking into social media and web 2.0 the biggest challenge i had early on was to explain what the hell social media was…..i often referred to a image that Dave Briggs produced which also put it into to context with web 2.0

Basically, social media is media made social, simple and easy to understand, yes…well no not if you have no idea what we are actually talking about.

Ok, what about this then..

” Social media technologies fundamentally change the way that people discover information, communicate, and connect. If you think your business does not need these technologies; imagine running your business without a telephone.”

Again, not easy unless you know what technologies you are referring to, you can show logo’s images nad pictures of wordpress, flickr, facebook and the like but unless someone actually uses them they don’t know what they can do.

I was reading Chris Brogan’s Blog earlier today and he has posted on “What social media does best”, this i think has now provided the missing piece in that it can really provide a focus when talking to people who don’t use this stuff daily.

What Social Media Does Best

  • Blogs allow chronological organization of thoughts, status, ideas. This means more permanence than emails.
  • Podcasts (video and audio) encourage different types of learning, and in portable formats.
  • Social networks encourage collaboration, can replace intranets and corporate directories, and can promote non-email conversation channels.
  • Social networks can amass like-minded people around shared interests with little external force, no organizational center, and a group sense of what is important and what comes next.
  • Social bookmarking means that entire groups can learn of new articles, tools, and other Web properties, instead of leaving them all on one machine, one browser, for one human.
  • Blogs and wikis encourage conversations, sharing, creation.
  • Social software, like Flickr and Last.fm and even Amazon.com, promote human-mediated information sharing. Similar mechanisms inside of larger organizations would be just as effective.
  • Social news sites show the popularity of certain information, at least within certain demographics. Would roll-your-own voting within the company be useful?
  • Social networks are full of prospecting and lead generation information for sales and marketing.
  • Social networks make for great ways to understand the mindset of the online consumer, should that be of value to you.
  • Online versions of your materials and media, especially in formats that let you share, mean that you’re equipping others to run with your message, should that be important (like if you’re a marketer).
  • Online versions of your materials and media are searchable, and help Google help you find new visitors / customers / employees.
  • Social networks contain lots of information about your prospective new hires, your customers, your competitors.
  • Blogs allow you to speak your mind, and let the rest of the world know your thought processes and mindsets.
  • Podcasts are a way to build intimacy with information.
  • Podcasts reach people who are trying out new gadgets, like iPhones, iPods, Apple TVs, Zunes, and more.
  • Tagging and sharing and all the other activities common on the social Web mean that information gets passed around much faster.
  • Human aggregation and mediation improves the quality of data you find, and gives you more “exactly what I was looking for” help. (See also, Mahalo).
  • Innovation works much faster in a social software environment, open source or otherwise.
  • Conversations spread around, adding metadata and further potential business value.
  • People feel heard.

and following some comments found this link to a great slideshow by Marta Kagan, which is great and to the point.

The main point of this slideshow is you need to actually get on the social media train and try it for yourself to really understand how it can help you and your business.

I feel better informed today 🙂

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