Every day we hear of “new” or “new-to-us” social media tools and platforms. How is a person, or a company, to choose what to use?
The Top Three: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are “no-brainers,” i.e. you really do need to sign up and start experimenting and/or incorporate your participation into your daily routine.
But what about the rest of the dozens and dozens and dozens [100’s] of sites?
We ask this question a lot in PR class, so the students worked in teams to examine 15 online sites: Google Reader, Zemanta, Flickr, Technorati, Squidoo, Ezine Articles, Del.ici.ous, Stumbleupon, Friendfeed, Digg, RSS, BlipTV, Hub Pages, Truveo, and Vimeo.
After brief team reports, the class as a whole voted on one of three options; (a) They would definitely check out the site for personal use; (b) They “might” check it out; or (c) They had NO intention of seeking out more details about the site.
The most popular platform by far was Flickr, followed by Delicious and RSS, with Technorati and Google Reader also scoring high in the (a) option. The lowest scoring sites included Ezine Articles, Truveo, and Vimeo.
Below [in the order seen by the students] is a brief description of each site, with a student comment, and the reported “scores”:
Google Reader: Helps you follow all your favorite sites by managing RSS feeds on one page. Free and easy to use: “Google Reader is a great site with sharing capabilities. You can subscribe to blogs and other sites on a regular basis, which reduces search time considerably” – Jason Khorge.
Class vote on Google Reader: (a) 13 will definitely check it out. (b) 31 said they may check it out; (c) 4 voted against.
Zemanta: This free Firefox add-on download that offers related web content — both text and visuals — that can help bloggers link and use valuable online information. “Zemanta is a great assistant for bloggers because it is easy to use, cuts down research time and enables content producers to enrich their publications with just a few clicks.” — Alisa Guan “I’m interested in checking out Zemanta to help me upgrade my blog. The suggested articles could help me give a more informed and useful opinion.” — Angelica Maduell
Class vote on Zemanta: (a) 14; (b) 24; (c) 13
Flickr: Online photo management and sharing web community. “”In my eyes, Flickr has garnered a lot of attention from reputable photographers and amateurs alike. It’s definitely a haven for people who want to share their passion for picture-taking and connecting with others of similar interests.” — Sarah Awang Razali “I personally thing that Flickr is really useful because of the quality of content provided on it. There are personal pages and professional pages, and all users are equally respected within the community. A lot of the photos are also the basis for much online content. They say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ so thousands of pictures must be worth a lifetime of endless content.: — Frank Lin
Class vote on Flickr: (a) 31; (b) 18; (c) 2
Technorati: Top rated blog search engine that indexes more than 1.5 million blog posts in real time. “I’m always looking for new blogs to follow and I think Technorati can really help me enlarge my collection.” — Petya Somleva
Class vote on Technorati: (a) 17; (b) 15; (c) 18
Squidoo: Content publishing on steroids: Free community website that allows users to publish pages [lenses] on line in a wide range of topics, virtually anythinhereg a person is passionate about. “Squidoo appealed to me the most, and I believe it has the greatest opportunity to grow. Providing such a diverse collection of material means it can reach a wide variety of interests.” — Liz Looney “I like the free Squidoo community website where content you’re interested in is easy to find. It is easy to use, simple to post comments, and you can earn money for charity.” — Brandon Wong
Class vote on Squidoo: (a) 13; (b) 31; (c) 4
Ezine Articles: Publishing site for original articles including tips, strategies, techniques, analysis, and case studies. Great for sending links back to a website. Sadly, no students chose to write an opinion about this site.
Class vote on Ezine: (a) 2; (b) 14; (c) 27
Del.ici.ous: A social bookmarking service that allows uses to save websites online, share them with other people, and see what other people are bookmarking. “You can build a mountain of information before ever adding a single bookmark. You find Del.ici.ous users who have saved articles you enjoy reading. Add their names to your network and with a single click, you can save all their bookmarks. That was amazing to me.” — Sarah Awang Razali
Stumbleupon: An Internet community that allows users to find, share, and rate favorite websites. “I was really impressed by Stumbleupon, particularly when someone said it was ‘a good site to waste a lot of time on the Internet.’ That being said lightly, it did strike me as the kind of site you could go on and be entertained by by topical content. I could see this website becoming part of my daily routine.” — Anna Rahnvonih
Class vote on Stumbleupon: (a) 5; (b) 20; (c) 16
Friendfeed: This microblogging site offers users a stream of updates which, unlike Twitter but similar to Facebook, allows comments and conversations to attach to updates. “With the decreasing popularity of MySpace and the growth of Twitter and Facebook, I think Friendfeed may just be the next best platform, using features from all three of these social networking sites.” — Sheena Diaz “I like the added Friendfeed feature of receiving feedback underneath your post.” — Ashley Dordan
Class vote on Friendfeed: (a) 12; (b) 27; (c) 5
Digg: A user-driven sharing site that is divided into categories for easy search. It also allows you to connect with Facebook and Twitter to share sites. “I am considering Digg because it filters news and other topics by what is important to other people.” — Caroll Vongsouthi
Class vote on Digg: (a) 6; (b) 35; (c) 7
RSS: Stands for “Really Simple syndication” and simplifies the process of getting information. It is a data format used for supplying frequently updated content. “RSS feeds allow you to easily get the latest information that you are interested in and they build Google Juice for shared sites.” — Bo Zhang
Class vote on RSS: (a) 22; (b) 21; (c) 3
BlipTV: Website for video distribution intended for anyone who wants to create a webshow to share with the world. “This site offers free hosting in any video format and tells you who is looking at your page and how they found you. I will definitely check it out.” — Ashley Hall “It’s interesting that you can find sponsors and earn revenue.: — Diedre Moseley
Class vote on BlipTV: (a) 10; (b) 28; (c) 4
Hub Pages: Website is designed for sharing advertising revenue for high quality, user-generated content. Members create individual pages on narrow topics based on the users interest. Not as popular with students as Squidoo.
Class vote on Hub Pages: (a) 3; (b) 25; (c) 18
Truveo: Video search engine that allows users to embed videos through a third party site like YouTube. It has a rating feature, and you can save favorites. “Truveo has many ways to search, e.g., by categories like business or comedy, by TV stations, by name of show. You need to become a member if you want to rate videos and add them to your favorites.” — McKenzie Hanson
Vimeo: Video file sharing and uploading site specifically for noncommercial content.Caters to a high-end artistic crowd. “Users can share or embed. Other options include title, byline, and portrait of the video listing beofre it starts playing. Videos can be enhanced with site tools.” — Riciaig Panlaqui
Class vote on Truveo & Vimeo: (a) 11; (b) 11; (c) 23
Student comments after the two-day experience:
I’ll be honest, I’m not a blogger. I don’t use Twitter and at times I don’t understand all the hype about these forms of social media. However, after seeing these presentations, there is no doubt in my mind the importance of these new media platforms. It’s plain and simple — if you want to spread the word, you MUST use these forms of social media. — Liz Looney
It was interesting to see how social media has exploded in recent years. Seeing all the sites — big and small — showed how each has its unique features. A lot of people do not realize that a small not very well known site today might in fact be the most popular six months from now. Anyone starting to use social media for business needs to check out many of these sites. — Eddie Neyman
From these presentations, I learned a lot of useful tools that will come in handy when I start looking for a job. Some of my favorites were the ones that help you find related articles on certain topics. Too often, I have the hardest time finding good information. — McKensie Hanson
With all the information presented, I feel like I’m already falling behind in the online social media world. To really be able to participate in all the social media sites, I will have to invest an outrageous amount of time. I plan to get involved by signing up for a handful of sites that I can keep up with. This was a great opportunity to learn that many sites can bring news and articles I like, rather than for me always having to search. — Caroll Vongsouthi
Next post: I evaluate my Online Presence Management