“Social media – what is it good for?” or “…I like house phones and trees”

At 10:20 pm on a Wednesday night I get a direct message from a friend, via twitter, saying “I’m confused. I don’t get twitter” the conversation ended with her saying “…I like house phones and trees”.

You don’t have to hate trees or only have a cell phone to ‘get’ and use social media. For me, social media is about community, or connectedness. It doesn’t replace my ‘face to face’ community, it does enhance it and build it.

Here’s how I work it:

Twitter – 120 character microblogging. It’s a way to listen to what is going on around areas of interest, communities or topics.  It’s also a way to be heard and build a following around who you are. People subscribe to “follow” you based on whatever criteria they chose.

I follow people because of their profession or because of the types of things they talk about, or the articles they link to. I follow people to expand my knowledge, heart or for amusement! For work I follow people or hashtags (#) to hear what is happening in my industry.

The thing I like about twitter is that most people you follow will also have a personal flavor. So it’s not all just business. You get a good chuckle or “aha” every so often. It’s also expected and welcome to butt in. Replying to (@) or forwarding (RT) tweets is standard. I love that you need to distill your thoughts and concepts to comply to the character restriction.  It also makes me think twice (believe it or not) about what I am about to say. A very good thing for me.

Facebook: I have significantly more “friends” on facebook than I have followers on Twitter so much of my conversation happens here.  It’s possible because I have twitter updates feeding my facebook updates. Facebook has it all, pictures, conversations, games (I don’t play them much) event notifications, messaging…etc…

The ability to have conversations and start building relationships with people I might not just call up to talk to, or people I don’t know at all, is one of the things I like best about social media outlets.

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