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This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.net.
Social media sites are a big thing right now, so much so that there are so many it's hard to even know where to begin.
What do I mean by social media? Well, unless you've been disconnected from the internet for the past three years you should at least recognize sites like MySpace, but there are literally hundreds of others including things like LinkedIn, FaceBook, Flicker, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, LiveJournal and on and on and on.
What these sites all share is that they each have a community of users and a way for the members of that community to invite others, link with others and communicate. Typically that means that after you link up by becoming someone's friend, or following them, or connecting to them, you're then able to see what they're up to, what they've posted or voted on or done recently, you're able to communicate with them in some way.
I know that for many people sites like MySpace, LiveJournal and FaceBook have almost replaced email as a primary means of communicating within their social circle.
That's pretty significant.
So, where do I hang out?
Well, to be honest, I sometimes feel like I'm still a 20th century luddite (if there is such a thing) as email is still my preferred medium, but I'm on a few of the services:
Twitter is a lot like text messaging a bunch of your friends all at once. It doesn't require a phone (though it can in fact be done via SMS). It's fascinating and very informal and even fun.
LinkedIn has an almost professional feel to it - meaning that it's where a lot of business folks seem to be connecting. I've reconnected with a lot of former colleagues here.
FaceBook feels much more informal and social - not terribly surprising since it started as student-only service. I don't spend a lot of time here, but I do check it out occasionally.
Now I had a MySpace account that I canceled some time ago due to all the noise and the fact that I never generally used it. Given its incredible popularity, I just recreated one so that I can test a few things out there if I need to.
Even though it feels like the glory days of MySpace may be over, more focussed and niche social media sites are growing and thriving. People are constantly looking for ways to connect, share interests and even solve problems. Having a large circle of like minded friends and connections is one way to make that possible.
So how do you use social media? Which ones do you use and why? What opportunities do you see?
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Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.net.
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