So, social media, what is it, who uses it, and where is it going? I first signed my personal life away to Facebook back when it was just a college only social networking site. In order to become a member, you had to have a registered school email address to become a part. At the time, a few of my friends from high school had it, and my school; The Savannah College of Art and Design, didn’t yet. A friend at the time, fall 04, freshmen year, then introduced me to MySpace since I couldn’t have a FB at the time. For some reason, I just wasn’t a fan of MySpace, there were just things about it I didn’t appreciate, it was too open to the public. FB was private, and only college students could join, that had a larger appeal to me. When it was finally available to me, I was adding everyone I went to high school with, all my new freshmen friends. Back then, FB was a really simply website to use, the wall was free for everyone to post and delete what they wanted, which wasn’t the brightest idea because I could come in and clear someone’s entire wall. You could add photo albums, and contact information. Events came into play and people would plan parties and invite everyone on Facebook, it was pretty much a huge bulletin board. Facebook then began to grow and evolve over the years, Marketplace came into play, people tied with businesses were allowed to join, and then high schoolers, then finally everyone. Links, photos, tags, anything that could be embedded into your wall was finally put into place. Originally you could just have a link, now everything works in place. Then all these other apps and games became introduced, like the popular farmville, which I have never seen in person or played, because I have better things to do. Facebook then became mobile, allowing users to update their status via mobile phone and SMS. Everyone I knew was on Facebook. Friends, acquaintances, then family members young and old. All these pictures from going out with friends, and parties and trips, I didn’t want my parents access to those. You have the option of allowing certain people to look at certain photo albums and whatnot.
Then other forms of social media slowly leaked into the public. I was introduced to Twitter last fall. A simple platform that only allows the user 140 characters to say whatever they want. Its best used for whatever is on your mind, where, your opinion on something. You post a tweet and anyone following you, can read your update. Twit pic allowed you to include a picture, you can “retweet” send links, or mention other Twitter member via @ followed by their user name. This was a great way for companies to send updates to customers and followers about whats going on. Events, responses, Twitter became a great form of Social Media.
Then there is FourSquare, a mobile app that pinpoints your location via GPS on your phone, lets you know what’s around you, in which you can check into that place. It becomes a game, the more places you visit around and away from you earns you different badges. The more times you check into a place, the possibility for rewards. You can then comment on whatever your doing, and update your location so friends can see where you are, or others can read your comments. Its a great way for businesses to keep track of business and offer incentive for people to come to them.
Then there are other forms, like Tumblr which is a multipurpose site/app thats lets you post all forms of media, videos, audio, photos, quotes, blog and share them. All these small apps all usually allow you to link their status to your FB, as FB seems to be the main application the public uses.
I’ve started using a recent application called GetGlue which is for sharing media. Whatever music, movie, book, I’m currently connected to I can share over the social network as well, and post a review on it. It’s kind of hard to tell how popular it will be since I know no one on it currently.
For the professional world, we have LinkedIn. Its a social platform for posting your resume/portfolio, your education, job history, about you, and a way to put yourself out there for others to look at and analyze. It how you find a future employer, or your future employer finds you.
Then there is Press Lift. Most people know what a press release is. PressLife is an online, networking version, where businesses can post various media related to press releases, events they have going on, benefits, fund raisers, anything PR. Companies like Pepsi are already on board. It links up to FB, Twitter, Google and whatever other social media it needs to in order to get the word out to everyone it possibly can.
All these forms of social networking are a big part of Social Media. Social Media is how people, products, businesses and more can say what they want to say to everyone they want to say it to. It had become such a big part of marketing, advertising and PR in today’s world. If a company isn’t blogging, or tweeting, it needs to learn to adapt and become a part of today’s emerging world. The question is, where are these emerging technologies going? Nothing ever stays the same forever, this will all change over time, what will be doing 5 years from now. Everyone is going to be linked to someone somehow.
How will you plugin?