By Julio Arguello Jr.
Publications & Member Services Manager, AMCHP
What is Social Media? According to Ron Jones, President and CEO of Symetri Internet Marketing, “Social media essentially is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online. Most social media services encourage discussion, feedback, voting, comments and sharing of information from all interested parties.”[i] Social media is more like a two-way conversation versus more traditional media (i.e., newspapers, television and film) which is more like a one-way conversation.
A plethora of social media tools are out there for you to use for free, including Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. The following is a brief definition of some of the most commonly used social media tools now available.
· Facebook. Is a social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. Since September 2006, anyone over the age of 13 with a valid e-mail address can become a Facebook user. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. Additionally, users can join networks organized by workplace, school, or college. The website's name stems from the colloquial name of books given to students at the start of the academic year by university administrations in the United States with the intention of helping students to get to know each other better. [ii]
· Flickr. Is an image and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media. As of October 2009, it claims to host more than 4 billion images. [iii]
· LinkedIn. Is a business-oriented social networking site. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003. It is mainly used for professional networking. As of February 2010, LinkedIn had more than 60 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. [iv]
· Twitter. Is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page and delivered to the author's subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Since late 2009, users can follow lists of authors instead of following individual authors. All users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. While the service itself costs nothing to use, accessing it through SMS may incur phone service provider fees. [v]
· YouTube. Is a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos. Three former PayPal employees created YouTube in February 2005. In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, and is now operated as a subsidiary of Google. The company is based in San Bruno, California, and uses Adobe Flash Video technology to display a wide variety of user-generated content video content, including movie clips, TV clips, and music videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging and short original videos. Unregistered users can watch the videos, while registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos.[vi]
This is just a sampling of social media sites that are currently out there and by no means represents all that are available for you to use. The best way to learn more about how to use social media is to actually subscribe to the services and explore their full potential in helping to market your products and services to your MCH members, partners and affiliates.
[ii] “Facebook.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 21 Mar. 2010 Web. 22 Mar. 2010.
[iii] “Flickr.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 18 Mar. 2010. Web. 22 Mar. 2010
[iv] “LinkedIn.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 Mar. 2010. Web. 22 Mar. 2010.
[v] “Twitter.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 21 Mar. 2010. Web. 22 Mar. 2010.
[vi] “YouTube.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 20 Mar. 2010. Web. 22 Mar. 2010.