Do you tweet? Do you tumbl? Do you vine? Do you vaguebook on Facebook? Do you pin on Pinterest? Do you comment on MySpace? Do you read on Reddit?
Honestly, I could go on, but I won’t (for your sake and mine).
What are we to make of all this social media? What are we to do with it? Do we have to do anything with it? Should we be doing something with it?
For our Tech Tools class, I had to do a bit of research into the world that is social media. I wasn’t living in a cave or anything, but my social media personal experience was pretty limited with a stint on MySpace back in college before my friends switched me over to Facebook, which I use to avoid talking to people on the phone by following what they post online. In the interest of giving the most accurate information possible I created an account for myself for each of the major social media programs. I already had Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. I added Twitter, Vine, Tumblr, and HootSuite.
Here’s the quick and dirty low-down.
Facebook: This is an online social networking service that allows users to “follow” each other by requesting to be “friends.” Friends can post pictures, comments, running commentary on social issues or even what they had for breakfast and it shows up as a news feed on friends pages. It is also possible to “like” businesses, famous people, organizations, causes, etc. and get up-to-date information on what they offer or what’s going on. You can create and join groups or pages, and there are also games that friends can play with each other through Facebook. Here is the Wikipedia page on Facebook to learn more.
MySpace: This is an online social networking service with a strong music emphasis. When it first started, users were able to create their own “page” that others could visit. Users could write blogs, post quizzes and pictures and friends could come visit the page. Myspace’s latest design (with pop singer Justin Timberlake having ownership stake in the company) lets users post to a “bulletin board” for everyone on a Myspace user’s friends list to see. Here is the Wikipedia page on Myspace to learn more.
Twitter: This is an online social networking and microblogging service that allows users to send and read “tweets,” which are text messages limited to 140 characters. Users can follow friends, famous people, organizations, businesses, athletes, politicians, religious figures, major world leaders, and even made up characters. The tweets of whomever the users follow appear as a news feed. Many famous people actually use this as a direct messaging system to their fans, often responding personally to tweets almost immediately. Here is the Wikipedia page on Twitter to learn more.
LinkedIn: This is a professional networking site that allows users to keep a professional profile and network with other professionals. Users can discover professional opportunities, business deals and new ventures, while also getting the latest news, inspiration and insights. Here is a video made by LinkedIn on what it is and how it can help you.
WordPress: This is a blogging tool and a content management system. According to Wikipedia, it is the most popular blogging system used on the web with over 60 million websites. It can be a running diary, a scrapbook of recipes, a travel and adventure book, a website for an organization or even a place to disseminate information (like an eLearning blog). Bloggers can also follow and comment on other bloggers. Here is a slide show article on what WordPress is and how it works (The subtitle is “Hint – It Makes Blogging Simple & Addictive)
Tumblr: This is called a microblogger and social networking site. Users can follow other blogs, post pics, videos and other content into a “short-form blog.” This service is most popular with the teen and college-aged users. Here is a very witty Time article about Tumblr.
Pinterest: This is a pinboard-style photo & webpage bookmarking site. Users can create “pins” by visiting websites and ‘pinning’ pictures, stories, recipes, articles, etc. Users can also browse others’ ‘pins’ and re-pin them to their own boards. Users can organize pins according to projects, food, events, holidays, etc. Here is a great article to learn more.
Instagram: This is a photo-, video-sharing and social networking service that allows users to take pictures, apply filters and effects to them and then share them. Users can link their account to other social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, so that when they post pictures or videos to Instagram, they also post to their other social sites. With filters and easy publishing capabilities, Instagram and other services like it make anyone with a camera on their mobile device an instant professional photographer. Here is an article to learn more.
Flikr: This is an online photo management and sharing application. The service is widely used by photo researchers and by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media. Since this is a cloud based application, photos can be available to users on most any device. There are 3 types of accounts available to users with increasing storage space, starting for free (with ads) with a terabyte of storage. Here is a CNET article for more information.
SnapChat: This is a photo messaging social app where users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of friends. These photos or videos are called “snaps.” Users can set a time limit the photo or video lasts until it ‘self-destructs’ (between 1 and 10 seconds). According to SnapChat, “on tradtional social networks, users tend to feel pressure…to say things that we think people will like, rather than expressing who we really are. [Snapchat] is sharing that lives in the moment, and stays in the moment.” Here is an article from Forbes on “Why Kids Love [SnapChat] and Parents Fear It” for more information.
YouTube: This is a video hosting site that allows users to look up videos on anything. It also allows users upload their own videos and share videos. Users can find video clips, TV clips, music videos, amateur video blogging, short original videos and educational videos. Users can also share or embed YouTube videos in their blogs, on websites, in online classrooms, through email or any other social media platform. Besides being a resource to find information, it has also been a platform for musicians, comedians, and the like, to rise to stardom by building a following. Here is the “about” section of YouTube’s website for more information.
Vimeo: This is also a video-sharing website that allows users to upload, share and watch videos. According to Wikipedia, the Vimeo community includes indie filmmakers and their fans. Here is an article on why choosing Vimeo instead of YouTube may be for you.
Vine: This is a mobile app owned by Twitter that enables users to record short video clips up to six seconds long. Users can edit on the fly or create stop motion effects. Users can share the videos on Vine or on other social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook. Here is a good comprehensive article on the ins and outs of using Vine.
HootSuite: According to their website, “HootSuite is a social media management system for businesses and organizations to collabortively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard.” Users are able to launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audiences and distribute targeted messages. Some tools include a post scheduler, assignment tools, collaborations, and custom reports using the social analytics tools. Social integrations include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, YouTube, Instagram, and Tumblr. Here’s a great article on getting started and best practices.