When people say “social media”, Facebook and Twitter spring to mind immediately. Facebook is a social network and Twitter is a micro blogging service. However these are really the tip of the iceberg – it’s actually frightening what’s out there (with more being added daily)!
You need a good search engine that you trust and like to use – Google has the largest UK market share but others such as Yahoo, Ask, MSN and many more have loyal users.
Social networks are split into personal and business. Personal social networks include Facebook, Myspace and Bebo whereas business to business social networks include LinkedIn, SlideShare and Ecademy. A lot of people have both but may not use all of them – you have to make sure the ones you choose to dedicate time to are worthwhile.
There are lots of content sharing sites for photos and video out there. Popular photo sites include Flickr and Photobucket while YouTube and Myspace are amongst the best used video sites. For podcasts have a look at Podcast and Live365.
If it’s information that you’re after then Wikipedia is the original user updated information source and there are lots of other wikis out there now including Quora which is a bit more specialist and Wetpaint.
Bloggers have dozens of good sites to use for building a blog, sharing content, finding plug-ins to enhance their blog, managing content distribution and getting blogs listed on directories where users can further promote posts.
And don’t forget about social bookmarking! Visit Digg, Tecnorati, Newsvine, Bloglines and Blinklist amongst many others to see if you like the user interface and if they are for you. They all have unique attributes so really the best thing you can do once you’ve read up on what’s available is to make a wish list and review these websites to find which is best.
You can create groups where members can liaise on Google Groups, Yahoo Groups and Meetup.
Finally, have a look at StumbleUpon – this is a great website that you can spend (and waste) a lot of time on! You tell it your interests and it will generate websites for you to review – some of them quite random and some of them very useful!
Of course you cannot possibly keep up with all the tools and websites on the social media landscape so you have to focus and go back to your objectives. One thing is for sure, if what you want isn’t out there right now, it will be soon! And make sure you keep a note of all your log-in details for these various websites so you are not forever resetting passwords. Good luck and happy surfing!