Monday, August 03, 2009

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet?

I am admittedly a little slow when it comes to social media. I only recently jumped aboard the Twitter bandwagon, I switched from MySpace to Facebook a lot later than I should have, and I don’t have a personal blog or web site. But once I got onboard the social media train, I was hooked.

As a novice in the public relations field, I have quickly become aware of the numerous social media outlets in cyberspace and their usefulness. There are sites that profile an individual to the rest of the community, such as
Facebook, Friendfeed, and LinkedIn. You want a bio – just google someone’s name and chances are, one of these sites will pop up. These sites are not just for networking in young communities, many of my friends have groaned about their parents joining Facebook. This popularity only emphasizes the utility and popularity of social media tools.

Other social media outlets allow for recipients to receive updates on current news, events, and general musings, such as Twitter, podcasts, and blogs/micro-blogging. Only problem with visiting sites such as Twitter and personal blogs – anyone can say anything. If anyone can blog and tweet about anything they desire, will journalistic integrity be a thing of the past? Which sites can we really trust?

Despite the aforementioned issues of reliance, in this day in age, social media seems to be the logical next step. In an economy where newspapers and magazines are closing, social media is a cheap way to quickly and easily disseminate information. Companies who are hurting for staff members can breathe a sigh of relief with this cheap way of receiving and distributing information. People are turning to online news sites instead of newspapers; they are reading books on Kindle instead of visiting their local bookseller. Many even attribute Obama's win and attraction to the youth to the use of social media in his campaign. If that’s where the people are headed, we should follow them, like it or not. If anything, it’s become an easier way to gauge one’s target audience for branding purposes. In a culture where we have become used to instant gratification through online participation and advanced technology, it seems only natural that the media should follow this same trend.

In a 2008 Journalists Use of Search Survey by TopRank, 91% reported using standard search engines to perform activities such as research companies, past media coverage and subject matter experts. 64% reported using social networks, 55% use blogs and 50% use Wikis as social media tools. Over half of the population utilizes social media – if that’s not a reason to create a blog or a Twitter profile, I’m not sure what is. Now to address the real question – what should my blog be about??

Any tips on useful social media sites (besides the aforementioned sites.) I'm still learning!

Labels: ,