What is socical media? Should I participate?

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):

4 Responses

  1. Kathyp June 24, 2008 / 5:10 am

    I think you should join a social network only for those topics you are truly interested in (I’m active on Flickr and Last.fm because I like photography and music), and not specifically as a means to promote your site. When you become an active part of any community, the hits will come.

  2. BloggerNewbie June 24, 2008 / 8:44 am

    GREAT post! I am new to Twitter (as well as this whole blogosphere) and I haven’t quite figured it out. I thought Twitter would be a great place to socialize with fellow bloggers, share ideas and yeah, discuss dinner if the subject comes up. There is so much to do…so little time! I am learning by the bucketful and readjusting my priorities daily. This is great stuff!

  3. Edward Lomax June 24, 2008 / 5:04 pm

    I think you should only get involved with social media sites if you really want to become part of a community. It is not really about what you are going to get out of it in the end.

    If you truly participate in the social sites, I think you’ll find the benefits of more traffic, subscribers and sales does come. But it should not be your main reason for participating.

  4. Mozi Esme's Mommy July 1, 2008 / 11:44 pm

    What an awesome blog! I like this post – I have so little time to blog as it is that I’ve been avoiding a lot of the social site scene, but I know it could be useful if I know what I’m doing and SPEND TIME on it.

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