Even before that extremely overrated movie won the Oscar, everybody was going gaga about social media. You can’t go to a blog without being bombarded with “online marketing” this or “web marketing” that. However, despite all the fervor, there are still people out there who don’t know quite what to do when it comes to social media. For those of us out there who are unsure what to do, here’s a little introduction to get acquainted with the medium.
Before we get started, we should spend a bit of time covering what Web 2.0 is. Web 2.0 is the correct term for websites that include aspects of collaboration as well as info sharing. Remember what way websites were like in the nineties: static pages without way to interact with them except for an email address. These days you can comment and, sometimes, even make original content-on websites even create content on websites, clearly a new phase for the medium. Hence the term “Web 2.0;” it’s the next step in the development of the internet.
Social media is Web 2.0 taken to its logical extremes. Through using social media, folk can communicate with hundreds of folk, either instantaneously, or irrespective of time. If you were around for Marshall McLuhan (a popular philosopher in the 1960’s who talked about new media), he declared that we would soon create new ways to communicate that will free us from the constraints of both distance and time. He was referring to TV, but Facebook is obviously a better fit for his theories.
There are literally hundreds of social media sites, although they tend to be divisible into groups. There are social news sites, Reddit, Propeller, and Digg where people read articles and comment on them. There are social bookmarking sites like Del.icio.us, Simpy, and Blinklist, where people can promote interesting websites. There are social video and photo sharing sites like like YouTube, Google Video, and Flickr; I’m sure everybody has wasted enough hours on YouTube to know this very well. If you’re looking for information on a specific topic, there are Wikis, which is like Wikipedia, only devoted to specific topics, like a TV show or a specific career. And then, of course there are social networking sites like Facebook or Myspace for the United States and literally countless other ones if you include different countries.
So, did that give you what you were looking for? Don’t fret if you aren’t familiar with every single one of them. Instead, you should take a few hours to check out each one to see if any of them would be useful for your needs. And, if none of them seem particularly good, then you just have to sit back and wait; new ones are coming into existence everyday, so there’s a big chance that something perfect will come along eventually.
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