What is Social Media and Why Should You Care

Your wife is on Facebook posting pictures for the grandparents, the kids are on YouTube watching funny videos and your neighbor keeps sending you invitations to join Twitter ? so what does this have to do with your business? All those sites are part of the new wave of social media that now dominates the internet. If all these people are using social media, don’t you think that is where your business should be?

Social media includes many types of sites arising from the “Web 2.0” phenomenon. These sites have a high level of interactivy and rely heavily on user-generated content to continue to grow. The precursors of what we now think of as social media would be the early bulletin board systems and IRC chats. As technology advanced, platforms developed that allowed for the discussion forums and blogs that we see all over the place. These sites began the “Web 2.0” craze because they allowed communities to develop. The new social media sites take that to a whole new level.

While blogs and forums are technically part of social media, the two main types of sites that most people think of as social media would be the social bookmarking and social networking sites. With these sites, not only can you discuss things with others, you can add other people’s content and share it with the world. On the bookmarking sites, you can categorize your bookmarked sites. You can add comments about them, share excerpts from them and even share them directly with social networking sites. The networking sites also let you share content, including photos and videos, while creating connections to other users.

Connections on the social networking sites are made in a variety of ways. To begin with, you have a profile where you can share many details and find others who share those same details. For example, on Facebook, when you put in what high school you graduated from, it will offer to locate others who graduated with you and easily reconnect with people you may not have seen in years. Each of the networking sites allows you to follow other people or them to follow you, although they all call these followers by different names. Anyone choosing to follow you is saying that they want to hear what you say and see what you share ? getting any ideas for harnessing the power of social media for your business?

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