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:
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.
- 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.
- Create a LinkedIn profile. Find at least five current or former work colleagues and add them to your network.
- 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.
Answer the following in the comments below:
- 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?