What is social media?
Social media includes any place where people gather online to share ideas, conversations, ask questions, etc. Wikipedia explains: Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio.
Some examples of social media are Twitter, Stumble Upon, Digg, Plurk, Flickr, Del.icio.us, and FaceBook. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it will get you started.
Do I need to participate? What do I get out of it?
Most of the questions I receive about blogging deal with increasing traffic, growing community, and making money. I can’t guarantee any of those things, but participating in social media will get your name and your blog out there, which, in turn, can help you achieve stronger traffic and community, which may lead to better ad revenue.
The more you participate in social media (just as with how often you comment on other blogs), the more people will recognize you. Of course, just as with commenting on blogs, you must make your participation count. Consider who you are following and who is following you and what you have in common. Contribute to the conversations in the most meaningful way you can. Sometimes that will mean posting about what’s for dinner (I swear I do this daily at Twitter), and sometimes it will mean providing useful feedback to Guy Kawasaki about his Alltop.com design. Make it interesting and make it count.
Some excellent articles regarding social media (most discuss Twitter and Plurk as they are the hot SM right now):
- How Not to Be a Twitter Nit-Wit via Looking Towards Heaven.
- Freelance Bloggers: 12 Tips to Promote Your Work with Social Media via Daily Blog Tips.
- Relationships and Online Social Networks: The Value of Sites Like Twitter and Plurk via DoshDosh.
- Twitter Links I HAD to Click via Mass Media Design.
- 100 Personal Branding Tactics Using Social Media via Chris Brogan.
- The Main Difference Between Twitter and Plurk To Me via ProBlogger.
- 11 Free Twitter Clients via BloggingTips.
- Twitter: The Talk of the Web, and For Good Reason via Performancing.