Introduction to Social Media
Before you start rolling your eyes and thinking, “Great! Another lecture on the miracles of Twitter” let me assure you that there are still a lot of people (MOM) that can’t wrap their head around what social media does or is. I love passing a group of people and hearing the phrase drop like it was pearl of wisdom that had never been uttered before. “I use social media to manage my real estate clients. I post my photos of properties on Facebook and I keep my LinkedIn people separate. That way my clients can see what properties I have open and available.” Unfortunately, people have begun to overuse the term “social media” and the definition has bled over into so many different applications that it is slowly moving into the “douche” vocabulary list of terms. Wait. Don’t think for a moment that the term is not valid, in fact some of my colleagues are turning into social media masters. It is an art and a skill and the term social media is valid. If you are reading this, then chances are you have stumbled upon the term and are too embarrassed to ask questions for fear of looking stupid. In this short article I will give you enough information to clearly understand and explain the term social media.
Ok, so let’s start with the hard question: What is social media? Social media is any hardware or software that allows people to communicate. This communication can be in groups or individually, it can also take place with strangers or people you already know (I am reluctant to use the term friend here simply because that term has also been stretched beyond its boundary). What do you mean communicate? Here is where the pond turns into an ocean. You can communicate privately with one person or with everyone you choose. You can even communicate with the entire world. The only limiting factor to your communication-reach is the software or hardware you are using. That, however, is soon becoming less and less of a hurdle.
What am I communicating? Anything that can be written, taken a photo of, voice or video recorded can be distributed through social media. You might have heard the term “posted on Facebook” or “I tweeted that” those are all references to actions in social media. The best part about communicating through social media is that there are a lot of tools to use and everyone doesn’t have use these tools the same way. Social media is personal. Some people strictly use Facebook to share (communicate) photos with only family members. Some business use Twitter to tell their customers what’s on sale in their store.
Social media has been used for years in both the personal and the business space. Within the last year, businesses have really recognized the power of social media. Next time you get a flier or see an advertisement on TV check to see if there is a social media icon next to their phone number or address – a nice blue “f” means they are on Facebook and a “t” means they use twitter.
So, enjoy your new knowledge (MOM) and impress the people around you. Don’t be shy when jumping into a conversation about sharing photos, tweeting or posting on Facebook. You know more than you think.