Social media sites abound. There are almost as many sites as there are interests. And, as social creatures, we love to stay connected. We thrive on what links us to other people. According to Dalina Castellanos of the LA Times, 90% of all small businesses are networking online through social media venues! She got this information from a recent survey by Manta—an online forum for small businesses. The survey found that 42% of the small business owners reported that one-fourth of their new clients came through social media networking! It appears then, that working with social media could make or break a small business. So, whether it’s a site for people with the same medical issue or a site that showcases a particular talent, we want to join in and meet others that are interested in the same things. So let this groundswell work for you!
As for me, I’m using the social media groundswell now for my personal interests. I love spending an inordinate amount of time using sites such as Polyvore, Pinterest and Facebook as well as watching videos on YouTube.
I am just amazed at what you can find on YouTube. I don’t think there’s been something I’ve looked for that I haven’t been able to find! I mean such obscure things as The Groovy Ghoulies (a Saturday morning cartoon series from the 70s). I wanted to show my kids things I used to watch as a child and, lo and behold, I found it on YouTube! Don’t you just love technology?! My son has started to make music videos of some local rappers and he’s posted them on YouTube. He’s also really into cars and loves to take videos of his cars and his friends’ cars. He even went to Hella Flush 2012 when we were in Hawaii and made a video and posted it on both YouTube and Vimeo.
It’s fascinating to me that most of these sites work so well together. For instance, my creations on Polyvore (a fashion and interior design site where you can design your own “sets”) automatically upload to my Pinterest account (a collection of images of things people find on the internet and share with otheres, or “pin,” via their own “boards”). I spend a lot of (too much) time on Polyvore designing rooms because I enjoy designing as well as the feedback from other users.
Another social media site I adore is Craigslist. I think it’s one of the best inventions on the internet to date. I’ve both purchased and sold items on Craigslist. This social media venue saves people so much money and time. You no longer have to spend the money to place a classified ad in the newspaper to sell unwanted stuff nor do you have to go to the effort of loading and unloading and pricing your stuff at a yard sale and sit there for hours waiting (hoping) for customers to come by and offer you a nickel for an item you placed a dollar sticker on. 😉 I even found my first job in the Washington, DC area on Craigslist! Come to think of it, I also found a job through my network on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a phenomenal resource for unemployed or underemployed people. Members can look for a job if they don’t have one or look for opportunities for advancement through their network of people they know or have been “linked to” through someone else.
Another site I frequent is Goodreads. It’s a website for people to share the books they love. They post and share information about books they’ve read, are currently reading or want to read. They can provide their opinion of a book as well as summarize it. It’s a really good way to find new books to read and stay up-to-date on books your “friends” are reading. My oldest daughter has an English Lit undergrad degree and an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Creative Writing so I’m always interested in what she’s reading or finding out her opinion on a certain book. There’s also a “Never-ending Quiz” feature where you can answer questions about books (made up by other members) to gauge how much you know about them. It’s really a lot of fun. They’ve also got features such as a “2012 Reading Challenge” and a featured poll. All these tools keep the site interesting and lead to more ways to stay connected with your “friends.”
So, as you can see from my social media examples, they are not only fun but provide excellent ways to stay connected with other people. You find something you’re interested in, and chances are there is a social media site out there for it.
Castellanos, Dalina. “Survey: 90% of small-business owners are networking online.” LATimes.com. 13 Sep. 2012. Web. 11 Oct. 2012.