Social media- what is it & why should I participate?

These two words hold much power. They can make people uneasy, skeptical, excited and even a little queasy. Some ignore them as much as possible. However, social media is here, and is as much part of our culture as the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.
But what is social media?

Dan Evans is the author of Social Media Marketing: An Hour A Day, and Read This Dot Com both of which focus on social media in business.

Evans defines social media in his book as ‘…a natural, genuine conversation between people about something of mutual interest, a conversation built on the thoughts and experiences of the participants. It’s about sharing and arriving at a collective point, often for the purpose of making a better or more-informed choice.’

So, this online born phenomenon isn’t as scary after all? It’s about learning what you are looking for and what you need.

For instance, if you are looking to keep track of your friend’s blogs, your granddaughter’s articles from her graduate work and your co-worker’s website updates, facebook might not be as helpful, unless they directly post every item and update they make. So, you have a few options instead of facebooking everything. Why not try Google Reader?

Google Reader, can connect you to people through your Google Account. You can share items you like, make comments and allow others to see what you are reading. Thus, creating your own network. Who says social media has to be all sheep throwing and YouTube videos?

Participating in social media gives you the opportunity to expand your world, or bring it in closer, depending on the groups and context.

So how do you figure out what you need? Well, ask yourself some questions:

1. What is my main issue with business/communication today?

2. What are people saying about my business/product/ or industry?

3. How am I relating to my current customers/family/friends?

4. How am I recruiting vendors, customers and employees?

For questions 3 & 4, really ask yourself: How is that working for me? Is it giving me the desired results?

If you seem to be disconnected and/or not experiencing your desired results, then social media might be able to help in some areas.

You can follow my on Twitter: kristina_e

gmail (feel free to gchat me when I’m not busy): kristinaeproctor at gmail dot com

I follow some pretty awesome professionals on twitter, feel free to join the conversation.

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