Posted by: midwestgirl2eastcoastaddress | November 7, 2009

Response Blog #7 – Social Media: More than just “Friends”, Tweets, and blogs…

I’ll admit…it took me moving to the East Coast for me to take my step into the world of social media.  I was anti-Facebook, thought Delicious was a baking website, and couldn’t tell you what a blog was.  Finally, I was fed up by the fact that my husband knew more about my friends back home (and other parts of the country) than me!  So, I took my first plunge into the world of social media and became one of the 300 million Facebook users.  By starting my Facebook account, I thought I was “in to” social media.

Truth is that social media is so much more than Facebook, Twitter, and the other social media/networking icons you see.  Through my Social Media class at Georgetown, I have been introduced to a new way of thinking and many social media tools that have changed the way I work.  Here are just a few…

What Facebook (and the rest of social media) is NOT.  I think my use of Facebook has totally changed since this class.  At first, I thought that Facebook and Twitter were solely used as platforms to keep your “Friends” or “Followers” informed as to what you were doing.  Oh, not true.  There is some room on Facebook and Twitter for spreading information on what you are doing or recent developments in your life (that you want to share), but really it is a place to start conversation about something else you’ve seen on the web (an interesting article, a photo, a blog, etc.).  Thanks to my Social Media class, I think I have fallen out of this category.

Delicious. Or formerly known as del.icio.us, is definitely not a website to get good recipes but rather a social bookmarking site.  See a good article on the web that you enjoyed now, but might need later for another project?  Bookmark it on your Delicious account and tag it with keywords that will help you recall it on your site later.

Google Reader. What did I ever do without it?  It is the place that I compile all of my news (available by RSS feed) into one place, and easily accessible through my Gmail account.  What’s interesting is that I wasn’t a huge follower of online news because I hated jumping from website to website.  I just couldn’t keep up.  Now with Google Reader, I am able to keep up with my news in one place and it has made me more informed in work and social conversations.   (Mom, I’m getting you on this next time I come home.  You’ll love it!)

A final thought:  Many struggle with the thought of social media and would probably agree with one of my classmates in saying that the internet is WIDE OPEN.  It’s scary.  Yes, partially true.  But being someone that was totally against social media, my philosophy has since changed that the benefit of the different tools far outweigh any risks (as long as you are smart about the information you put out there).

Remember: If you aren’t at least participating in the conversation, you don’t know what is being said about you.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the link.

    I think social media breaks down into two categories (to borrow a couple phrases from Jay Rosen): Lifecasting and mindcasting.

    I think a lot of people who have a negative view of social media only consider the lifecasting part of it (“I’m eating breakfast!” etc.) and understandably see that as vapid and narcissistic. You’ve discovered mindcasting—social media “is a place to start conversation”—which offers, in essence, a global town square where anyone and everyone is open to talking to you and sharing ideas.

    That isn’t to say lifecasting can’t be valuable. Case in point: This year’s Iranian election protests. For the average person, though, I do think mindcasting casts a wider net. Lifecasting is localized (“20% off a downtown Seattle J. Crew!”) whereas mindcasting transcends physical space (“Check out this link to my butternut squash soup recipe”).

    Keep enjoying the social space!


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