Social Media 104: Intro to Social Networking

Note:  Social Media 104 is part of the Core Curriculum for Social Media University, Global (SMUG).

Visiting Professor and honorary SMUG doctoral candidate Lee LeFever, whose material also has been indispensable in Social Media 102: Intro to RSS and Social Media 103: Intro to Wikis, again has a “Plain English” video to introduce new users to the benefits of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. Watch it:

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=6a_KF7TYKVc]

If you want to use social networking sites for business purposes, here are a few introductory tips about each of the top three sites:

  • “MySpace is for middle schoolers.” That’s the assessment of my youngest daughter, the wise-beyond-her-years high school junior. It’s an overstatement, but it does match the demographic reality that the MySpace demographic skews young. Which is why it’s a bit disturbing to me that on MySpace I get far more porn spam “friend” requests than anything else. MySpace claims a much larger user base than Facebook, but somehow I doubt that Alla, Alyson, Anna, Clarice, Esperanza, Estella, Evelyn, Gertrude, Ivy, Jaymie, Judy, Judith, Jennifer, Karan, Keeley, Mertie, Michaela, Maritza, Norine, Nisha, Patricia, Ramona, Traci, Thelma, Vanessa, Valeria and Zada are real people. But if you are an aspiring musician or otherwise want to reach a young fan base, you may want to have MySpace in your mix. For example, my friend Scott Meis with the Donate Life Illinois initiative to increase organ donation has found MySpace a great way to reach young people with his message.
  • LinkedIn is the most popular strictly professional networking site. I call it “Social Networking without the social.” I know others swear by it, and I’m happy to be a member, but I don’t see it involving its users as much as either Facebook or MySpace do. If you work for a professional services firm and are looking to do hardcore networking, LinkedIn could be great. It gives you ability to provide and ask for references and recommendations.
  • Facebook, with its Ivy League college roots, strikes a nice balance between the two. It’s far less susceptible to spam than MySpace is. I’ve devoted a whole section of this blog to Facebook business uses, so for Social Media 104 students who want to read ahead for extra credit, go to the Facebook Business page.

Homework Assignments:

  1. Visit my MySpace page. If you want to send me a friend invite, that would be great to actually have some non-spam requests. I don’t spend much time in MySpace, though, so if we want to have a SMUG class about MySpace, we probably should have a guest instructor. Any volunteers? If you think I haven’t been fair to the biggest social networking site, I’d be glad to accept a guest post about the advantages of MySpace. If you want to create a MySpace page to get more hands-on experience, that gets you extra credit, too, but it’s optional.
  2. Create a LinkedIn profile. Find at least five current or former work colleagues and add them to your network.
  3. Join Facebook. This is a remedial assignment, as it was part of Social Media 101, but if you haven’t completed this step yet, now is a great time to do it. Then you can enroll in SMUG and Friend me.

Class Discussion

Answer the following in the comments below: 

  1. Which social networking sites have you joined?
  2. Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes?
  3. If so, which one, and why?
  4. Do you belong to a social networking site not mentioned above? Which one(s)? Why do you find it helpful?
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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of seven, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

36 thoughts on “Social Media 104: Intro to Social Networking”

  1. Thanks Lee, great post.

    1. With regard to Donate Life Illinois, been using MySpace, Facebook, Blogger and YouTube. Personally I’ve tried out a few other social networking/media sites such as Veoh.com and ning.com. I just checked out Pownce.com the other day as well. I think it really depends what you’re trying to accomplish. Facebook and MySpace seem to have an immediate hold on the near future do to sheer user base.

    2./3. I agree with your statements above about the nature of MySpace being flooded with spammers. It’s gotten slightly better, but it’s still pretty bad. I do like the fact that MySpace is a little more open (as compared to Facebook) to connecting with others on a one-to-one basis – key to generating community around a specific issue or cause. It’s been a HUGE resource for helping us connect with transplant patients, recipients, people who want to volunteer, etc.

    Facebook tends to have limitations to that end as you can only invite friends to join your group, but I suppose there is a strong arguement there for solely harnessing third party credibility. To that end, Facebook has been absolutely key for us in connecting with college students in our campus outreach efforts. YouTube and our blog have also been great in garnering national attention around a pretty localized, niche issue.

  2. Thanks for the really helpful and thoughtful examples, Scott. This is exactly the kind of thing I hope happens with SMUG, as people with lots of practical experience with social media help others who are just getting started. Your comments will be a great resource.

  3. I’ve joined Facebook, LinkedIn and CollectiveX. Skipping MySpace for now for the reasons mentioned above. What I’m seeing thus far is that they are all fun but not necessarily connecting me as much as I’d like to think they will. LinkedIn to me is still more about leads while Facebook offers more community. CollectiveX is a cross between. We started a group there for a small, networking group and we’re sharing documents and meeting info. I haven’t picked a favorite yet but do think that twitter and flickr will likely not be at the top. It would be interesting to find out if people on average are really separating their loyalties (use Facebook for friends, LinkedIn for business) or if they are moving to one platform preference. And also, the average time they spend on these platforms? One question for me continues to be managing these cool and ues fun tools.

  4. What a fantastic assignment! I stumbled across this posting while researching various information points for my readers. Simple in nature yet enough to give (the participant) a course of action to get started. It seems to me like Social networking is the rave for as far as I can see.

    I’ll share that I have been using Collective X since October of 2007 and it has been phenomenal. The range of professionals joining the group are as diverse and interesting as the day is long. I’ve found many belong to a variety of groupsites or social platforms, but that the offering of Collective X is definitely to their liking.

    I wish each of you the best and encourage you to take a peek at my group…you might find just what you are looking for within. Location: mondaymover.collectivex.com.

  5. 1. Which social networking sites have you joined?
    – Facebook
    – LinkedIn
    – Twitter
    – MySpace (years ago, but have discontinued use)

    2. Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes? If so, which one, and why?
    – Facebook at Twitter would be most useful for general customer interaction and brand management. LinkedIn would be useful for recruiting and competitive information mining.

    3. Do you belong to a social networking site not mentioned above? Which one(s)? Why do you find it helpful?
    – Flikr: I don’t work in a very visual business, but if I did, this might be useful. Use for a portfolio maybe.
    – Various old-fashioned bulletin boards. These are still heavily used but not really discussed much anymore.

  6. I feel like I have joined every social networking site out there, including: myspace, facebook, twitter, linked in, pinterest.
    I don’t really have any business needs as I am a college student, but whenever I need something done or coordinated, I would say I would use facebook.
    I am on facebook basically everyday, and use it for more than just socializing.
    I keep in touch with out of state friends and family.

  7. I have joined LinkedIn and was already a member of Facebook. I have never been a fan of MySpace and do not wanted to be bothered with the spam, so I did not join MySpace. I have heard many positive things about LinkedIn so I am excited to see where it goes.

  8. I’m on facebook, linkedin and twitter. I enjoyed myspace when I was in high school but quickly realized it was geared toward a younger population. I love facebook. I think it’s great for connecting with friends as well as networking for future jobs, references, etc. Recently I joined Linkedin. I am not super involved with Linkedin yet but it seems like it has a lot of potential. I am a senior in college and I am beginning to look for internships and potential jobs. Having the opportunity to connect with professors, classmates and anyone else opens up a lot of doors. It seems like I have a connection to just about any organization. Even if it’s a friend of a friend, its still a connection that can be utilized in an interview setting, or just to gather more information before pursuing a particular position.

  9. 1) I’ve joined facebook and LinkedIn
    2) Business-wise I haven’t had a lot of experience because I’m still a student, but I have found LinkedIn to be pretty practical
    3) I thought LinkedIn was practical and usable because I can get connected to people I already know but don’t really discuss business matters with, like relatives. Perhaps in conversation I would never bring up something business-y with a family member, but with LinkedIn I’m not afraid to.
    4) I’m not a member of another social networking site, unless you count twitter, but that isn’t really helpful to me

  10. Which social networking sites have you joined?
    I have joined Facebook, linked in and twitter
    Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes?
    I have not yet had much experience with linked in, but I had not really used any of these for business yet.
    If so, which one, and why?
    Do you belong to a social networking site not mentioned above? Which one(s)? Why do you find it helpful?
    I do not

  11. I have joined Facebook, Myspace (although it was a long time ago), Pinterest, Twitter, and Linkedin. I have really been liking Linkedin for business purposes although I am still getting used to it. I have really enjoyed connecting with classmates and networking in order to find a new job. I also belong to pinterest. I love using pinterest to keep all my projects, inspiration, and recipes organized. I also love seeing what my friends are looking at.

  12. I’ve joined Myspace, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn, although I mostly just use Facebook and Pinterest. LinkedIn seems like it has a lot of potential for networking, but I haven’t seen any payoff yet. I’ve found Facebook is the best for marketing because more people have it and it’s easier to get more followers. Pinterest isn’t mentioned above, but I use it all the time and love it. I call it the most productive waste of time. I learn so many new things on there and it’s a great way to keep track of recipes, blogs, tips, projects, etc.

    Do you belong to a social networking site not mentioned above? Which one(s)? Why do you find it helpful?

  13. Which social networking sites have you joined?
    Facebook (<3), Myspace (which I hate), LinkedIn (meh, whatever), Pinterest (indifferent), Twitter (<3), YouTube (<3)
    Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes?
    Yes
    If so, which one, and why?
    Facebook. It is widely used and user-friendly.
    Do you belong to a social networking site not mentioned above? Which one(s)? Why do you find it helpful? Not that I can think of.

  14. I use facebook, pinterest (not sure how social networking– in the sense that you don’t really communicate with people other than pictures), linkedIn. Facebook is great for me when I am looking for deals but LinkedIn will hopefully allow employers to see me online first and get a good first impression.

  15. I have joined myspace, facebook, linkedin, and pinterest. As far as business goes, linkedin in the best because it gives me everyone’s credentials and business history right on their profile. With social networking, facebook is the best. It is the best balance and allows me to constantly be communicating with my friends and family.

  16. 1. I’ve had a myspace, facebook, pinterest, and linkedin.

    2 & 3. I just started using linkedin, but I imagine it will be the most useful for my business purposes because it is basically an abbreviated online resume that I can share with many people.

    4. I do not.

  17. 1. I use Facebook and LinkedIn the most. I also have a Twitter account but I don’t use it.
    2./3. I think that LinkedIn is the most useful for business purposes. I will be looking for an internship and then a job in the next year, and I think it is a great way to find people who I already have a connection with (even if it is a distant connection). I especially like how you can search for people who work in certain cities, organizations, etc. and it will show you people who work there who you are already connected with or who are connected with someone you know.
    4. No.

  18. I have joined facebook, twitter, and linkedin. i find linked in to be most helpful in business relationships because it’s a cleaner, and more professional environment, facebook is too tainted with its reputation to be a good way for networking.

  19. 1. I use Facebook and Linked In the most. I signed up for MySpace when I was 12… I don’t think I’ve been back since.
    2/3. Facebook and Linked In are the most valuable. As as student I’ve used them to find or post apartments, jobs, or other important items and events. It’s a great, easy and quick way of networking with people
    4. No.

  20. 1. Which social networking sites have you joined?
    Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
    2. Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes?
    Yes
    3. If so, which one, and why?
    Facebook. It is much easier to use, I feel like I make more and better connections, It works really well for businesses, and it is the most widely-used so I get more reach that way.
    4. Do you belong to a social networking site not mentioned above? Which one(s)? Why do you find it helpful?
    Pinterest, if you could count that one. It is really fun to share ideas, thoughts, etc. through pictures and videos.

  21. Which social networking sites have you joined?
    Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes?
    If so, which one, and why?
    Do you belong to a social networking site not mentioned above? Which one(s)? Why do you find it helpful?

    1. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Tumblr, LinkedIn

  22. Which social networking sites have you joined?
    Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes?
    If so, which one, and why?
    Do you belong to a social networking site not mentioned above? Which one(s)? Why do you find it helpful?

    1. Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace
    2 &3. LinkedIn is more useful for business purposes; Facebook is more useful for keeping in touch.
    4. No

  23. 1. I have joined facebook, and linked in and find it great to keep in contact with people who may not live close to me.
    2. I find linked in is much more better for business purposes verse facebook.
    3. Linked in is more professional looking, as facebook is more for media advertising and social interaction.
    4. I dont not belong to any other social media listed above.

  24. 1. I had a myspace but I never used it. I use facebook and occasionally Linked in
    2. Facebook is more for fun in my case and chatting with friends. I keep my Linked in strictly professional and don’t add friends unless for business purposes.
    3. Linked in doesn’t allow you to share stories or fun things that facebook does.
    4. I belong to instagram as well.

  25. Which social networking sites have you joined?
    1. I used to have myspace, but now I have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn
    Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes?
    2. Honestly, I think Facebook and Instagram help with business because you can get the word out about your company. Also, LinkedIn is great for Networking.
    3. I think they are all great for different reasons whether it be personal or business.
    4. Yes! Instagram

  26. 1. I’ve joined Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and now LinkedIn.
    2/3. LinkedIn seems to be the most useful for business purposes because it links you with professionals in your field of interest. It also doesn’t have much of the spam and social type purposed that the other social media sites has.
    4. Yes. Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I like these for all different reasons. Twitter provides different feeds you can follow. Instagram is for pictures, and you can share a lot of cool ideas on Pinterest.

  27. 1. I joined facebook and linkedin.
    2. I find linkedin useful because it helps keep in contact with more professional colleagues than just friends like on facebook.
    3. Goes along with number two, but I just find linkedin more professional than facebook.
    4. I am not on any other social networking sites.

  28. Which social networking sites have you joined?
    1. I used to have Myspace, but now I have Facebook, and LinkedIn.
    Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes?
    2. Honestly, I think Facebook help with everything. I honestly have never used LinkedIn for anything, really.
    3. I think all around Facebook is the most useful.
    4. I probably am on other social networking sites, but I visit them infrequently enough that I don’t remember them until they email me.

  29. Which social networking sites have you joined?
    Facebook, LinkedIn
    Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes?
    If so, which one, and why?
    For business, linkedin
    Do you belong to a social networking site not mentioned above? Which one(s)? Why do you find it helpful?
    No

  30. Which social networking sites have you joined?
    I have a Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

    Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes? If so, which one, and why?
    I don’t really use social media for business, but I guess that LinkedIn is the most important one as far as business goes.

    Do you belong to a social networking site not mentioned above? Which one(s)? Why do you find it helpful?
    Yes I have an Instagram which allows me to easily share photos with friends. It also avoids long posts and things that turn me off from using Facebook.

  31. 1. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace
    2. I think LinkedIn is better for business purposes. I just haven’t seen as many people use Facebook for that reason.
    3. I think LinkedIn is more professional. The limitation is that it is not as heavily used as Facebook.
    4. Twitter. I don’t follow anyone though and no one follows me so it’s kind of pointless. I just did it for a class.

  32. -Facebook and LinkedIn.
    Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes?
    -LinkedIn, can network with people in your field and outside of your field. Can also connect with companies that you may be interested in.
    -No

  33. Which social networking sites have you joined? I have all of them.
    Do you find one of them more useful than the others for your business purposes? yes.
    If so, which one, and why? FB for getting likes to save children in africa
    Do you belong to a social networking site not mentioned above? Which one(s)? Why do you find it helpful? none

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