It also takes time to develop and polish content. A good editor also helps. Brief is good. It is a different kind of language. Think of it as texting with a professional orientation. In these networks spelling and grammar really matter, Twitter is an exception. You will see why.
- Twitter. Twitter is very much like a news feed. You can post updates, photos and articles that your audience may find helpful. Fortunately or unfortunately, you are only allowed 140 characters. It takes great discipline to write a tweet. Anybody can follow you (so be sure you are careful what you post).
The beauty of Twitter is you can actually segment your audience. You get followers and you follow people and/or organizations that you like. Ford's various twitter accounts are an excellent example. The company has twitter accounts for different cars and trucks. As a consumer I do not waste time with information I am not interested in. Very smart.
Former GE CEO Jack Welch had the best description of Twitter. Think of it as a cocktail party. You can go around and find a discussion or commentary that is of interest to you. He is absolutely right. That is the same way I look at it.
- LinkeIn. This is the most professional social networking site. Unlike Twitter, you are the reason people choose to connect. You must accept an invitation or you must issue an invitation to connect.
LinkedIn is the premier peer-to-peer social network. It allows the formation of groups to post questions and discuss issues of mutual interest. Several people have posted questions or challenges and have received numerous helpful comments and suggestions. Perhaps the best way to look at LinkedIn is to consider it as a virtual professional association.
In spite of the potential abuse, most members do a very good job limiting the sales effort. When a member oversteps the boundary of an overt sales push, other LinkedIn members usually issue a sharp response.
Generally, you find professional updates on an individual and organization. It is quite refreshing.
A new service offered by LinkedIn is the ability to follow companies.
- Facebook. Among the first of the social networks and the only one that was the subject of a major motion picture and a CNBC profile. The founder is Zuckerman. He is to social networks what Bill Gates is to software.
Facebook was originally a way for teenagers to connect. We parents monitored it because we were unsure about what our kids were involved with. Now, we use it too. In fact, middle agers use it so much Facebook is no longer considered cool.
For posting pictures and videos, no social network site makes it easier. It is equally easy to access photos/videos.
A key concern is privacy. I think several people add somewhat personal data and do not realize that it can be accessed by the entire Facebook family.
Facebook made a strategic move into business. Now, businesses can post profiles, cultivate followers and post items for discussion.
- Blogs. A blog is defined as a web log. Most blogs remind me of a journal, the only difference is everybody can read it. Blogs are popular when combined with Twitter and an organization’s website. On a blog you have virtually unlimited space. You can also post pictures, etc. I have a blog, www.georgeharben.blogspot.com
Postscript - March 9, 2011
I started writing this post a couple of weeks ago. Today I read a Tweet that is on point.
One issue that continues to nag me is who owns a social media account? The company or the individual? I think this is an interesting question. A recent court case in CA said a policeman's texts sent from his business phone belong to the police department. Another article I found said if you use the company WiFi network, the company has access to the data (not sure how that will work).
So, who owns the social networks? According to the article I read on Twitter, most companies prefer that the question not be asked. Second, it is generally accepted that the individual owns the social networks. The article notes, as does my blog, that the connections are with an individual, not with a company. Hence, the connections do will not have the same value should the primary connection depart. I understand that line of reasoning.
But, I have no doubt, this will soon be a very hot topic. An example. An employee attends a tradeshow, then issues invitations to every person he met to connect on a social network. Who owns the contact? The company paid for the employee to attend the tradeshow, the company paid of the computer, the company paid the employee.
A second consideration. What about people you hire and bring in their own social networks and corresponding contacts? I think this is easier issue. This could be a very interesting debate.