Wednesday, January 6, 2010

#127- How do you define Social Media?

If you’ve ever had a hard time explaining “Social Media” to your family (or your colleagues), here's a quick overview to illustrate the differences between Social News, User-Generated Content, and Networking sites.

Categories of Social Media:

  • Social News sites allow people to post and vote upon news or other content they consider noteworthy.
  • Social Networks connect friends to each other with pictures, status updates, and other applications.
  • User-Generated Content is found on sites where users can upload content and make it public. UGC also includes formats like comments, ratings and reviews, and other feedback mechanisms.

Here are the places these things overlap:

  • Blogs have strong characteristics of all three of these categories. Their content is generated by users; they can have news value, and they are often viewed by a network of followers (something I'm working very hard to build here, for example).
  • Twitter is a collection of networks that follow each other's brief status updates, to whom the news is considered noteworthy.
  • RSS (Really Simple Syndication), allows a network of subscribers to receive new or updated content.

If you read this blog you’ll soon realize that I’m a huge fan of social networking. I believe in it, especially for anyone in business, but even more so for small businesses. Social networking is a tremendous way to stay on top of a niche and build connections. But there are appropriate times when you can take a break.

Just as with anything else in life, you’ve got to know when to walk away. Sometimes, a planned break can energize you. You come back stronger and ready to run some more. That’s true in a workout, business, relationships, and a lot of things - including social networking.

But how much time should you take off and when?
Just do what is right for you. Obviously, holidays are days most standard businesses take off – Christmas, New Year’s, etc. It is reasonable to take off recognized national holidays

Site/community managers, bloggers, and others must not disappear for too long, however. Taking an entire month off from social networking will cause a loss of momentum. A week off here and there is probably not a problem. A day off is perfectly acceptable for a blogger or citizen journalist. Days off can give you back the energy you need. But, if you run a social community or even a fan page or web site for a small business, it's important to try and find someone to fill your shoes when you need time off - someone who knows your company or product and who can represent your business well.

So, if your batteries need re-charging, by all means, take a break, just don't be gone for too long.

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