Social Media Tools

 

There is this slight notion out there that social media tools are only social networking which is not actually the case. Social networking in fact happened because of social media.

If you think or have been told that social media is only social networking then you have been misinformed. Social media consists of a variety of tools and social networking would be one of those tools which make up the whole of social media. In this blog I’m going to give you a brief of the various social media tools out there.

Blogs

Most of us are familiar with blogs but if you are not, blogs is a type of website which can be updated quickly and easily and published chronologically. You can post text, images, video, podcasts pretty much anything on blog sites. Blogs are is a good place to get started if you are a new start up.

WordPress (my favourite)
Typepad
Blogger
MSN Spaces
Movable Type
PMachine
Greymatter
B2 Evolution
Text Pattern
Express Engine

I’m only familiar with Word Press and Blogger but to get a good break down of the pros and cons here is what Problogger has to say.

Social Bookmarks

Social bookmarking is just really another way to bookmark your favourites but the difference is that you do it online instead of offline.
Digg, Delicious, Stumble Upon, Tweetmeme, Reddit, Mixx, Propeller are just a few social bookmarking tools out there.
Find out more about social bookmarking sites.

Microblogging

Microblogging to me is like sending an sms but too many rather one person. It is short live updates.

Twitter
Jaiku
Tumblr

Here ReadWriteWeb compares 10 of them, 10 Micro-blogging tools compared.

Aggregators

The web definition of an aggregator is a person who collects things, so picture an online web aggregator as a social media tool which collects information and brings them together in one place.

Aggregators allow us to syndicate our content in one place, it is very much like having your own newspaper because you determine the content and you do this by adding RSS feeds from various sites to your chosen aggregator. Other terms for aggregators are RSS readers, feed readers, news readers.

Netvines
Friendfeed
Techmeme
Google reader
Alltop

Read further on top 10 social news aggregators

RSS Feed

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a very powerful tool as it allows you to distribute your content easily in various places. It also allows others to share and distribute your content easily or to add it to their aggregator or email if they want to keep up to date with your content.

Example: I take my RSS feed from my blog and I add it to my Twitter account, Facebook and Linked In account this way each time I blog those sites are updated automatically. I also take RSS feeds of blog sites I like reading and add their feeds to the same accounts so that my audience can benefit from this if they like the content of course. I also subscribe to receive email updates or add the feed to my aggregator so that I can read the updated blogs and comment if I wish to.

Photo sharing

Photo sharing sites is a place where you can post your digital photos online and share them with others.
Flickr
Photobucket
www.photobucket.com
Picasa

Read more about photo sharing sites

Podcasts

A podcast is basically a multimedia file or another simpler term would be audio file which you can upload online and users can download it to their computer which can then be added to a mobile device.
Here is a good blog which explains all things related to podcasts which you may find useful.

Video

The use of video online is becoming more and more popular with both companies and the general public.
Youtube
Metacafe
Break
Google Video

Wiki’s

A wiki is basically software which allows multiple users to work collaboratively to add, remove or edit content.
Wikipedia

Forums

People use forums to ask questions, answer questions and discuss topics. Companies generally have their own forums where their customers can post questions, find answers, or get help.

Apple Forum
Vodafone Forum
UK Business Labs Forum

Community Sites

There are many community sites, business community sites, social community sites and your more niched community sites where people can network online and share common interests.

LinkedIn
Facebook
MyGenius
Better Networking
Ecademy
Myspace

If you have a particular hobby then search online for your hobby you are bound to find a community.

And this is pretty much it for social media tools.

 

Nope, I’m not going to be posting every single day but will be posting as and when I discover new findings or have made some form of progress.

Yesterday, I was feeling very blonde with Google WAVE and I’m not convinced that’s changed but I am going to stick around and give it some of my attention.

After my frustration yesterday trying to invite someone,  I decided it was time for me to actually go and read the help section instead of jumping in the deep end.

No more invites for now

So this was my progress today.

I discovered that I am still waving by myself or waving to myself as I cannot easily wave with anyone, reminds me of the song by Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb where it starts “Is there anybody out there?”

I also discovered that numerious invitations were sent out, 100,000 I believe and in the help section it said that there is a long waiting list to be processed which means that “the lights are off “and no more invites are being sent but once Google has caught up they will be waving invites to current users to invite others so I have to wait until I see the wave invite option in my Google WAVE inbox.  Correct me if I’m wrong but this is what I read in their help section.  This made me feel a little less blonde.

It’s a waiting game

So everyone who is asking me for invites, “it ain’t gonna happen” in the near future and even if it did by the sounds of things you may have to wait a while.  I also have to laugh at all the comments I read from people asking for invites on various blog posts, how funny, as I am sure that most people who can invite others will only be inviting people they know or have a relationship with.

I know for me personally, I would really like to try out this new collaboration tool with my inner circle and by this I mean my team and close colleagues.  In running a virtual business it is very important to always find ways of working more efficienctly and finding ways to be more productive and this may be one of those solutions.  Anyway, right now while the lights are off and I’m waving to myself it is rather difficult to experience Google WAVE properly because I need my team on board to be able to do this.

Google WAVE application

On another note however, looking at the application it seems pretty straight forward, adding a contact seems easy enough to do and you can import CSV files which is a bonus, now I can export my contacts from Outlook into my GoogleWAVE contact section.  Clicking on various functions seems  rather sticky.  I tried to access various folders, such as inbox, trash, and all and had to click a few times before anything happened,  seemed stuck.

I twittered to see if any of my followers are part of Google WAVE and so far not much joy but Simon Mohr of Canterbury Geeks is a WAVE user and has added me to his list of “How to Tips for WAVE” , “yay” I have two contacts on my list now and have finally received one WAVE message from someone I know,  Simon Mohr who is waving with some other wavers who are busy sharing their tips and tricks in a WAVE discussion and now I need to find something useful to add to their discussion.

Romany

 
So the big hoohah at the moment is Google Wave.   I watched the video a while back  and completely forgot to sign up, so when the news was out that invites were out and being sold on E-Bay, I felt a bit like an outsider and being in the virtual business that is not a very good thing. 

Have you heard the saying: “It’s not what you know but who you know” and receiving an invitation this morning reminded me of how true this can be.

There I was a silly idiot in front of my laptop feeling all chuffed and excited that I got to be a part of the whole Google Wave experience, yeeehah and very grateful to the person who sent me an invitation. Thank you Geoffrey.

Busy with my work, I left it open and carried on with other things.  Later on viewing Twitter, someone posted something about Google Wave and I decided that it was time to have a bit of a play with Google Wave.

I’m not a “read the instructions/user guide kind of gal”, I’m more of “let’s jump in the deep end and see how I swim”.  If it is user friendly, I’ll stick around and give it more of my valuable time, if it is not easy and it looks like I’m going to have to read the user guide then I’ll weigh up my options and decide whether to move on and find something that does meet my needs and is user friendly or is it really that important that I need to grab the bull by the horns and make the time to read the user guide and do it step by step.

So here is my first day having access to Google Wave and what did I achieve. Very freaking little!!!

So far, I figured out it is pointless me adding my contact as I cannot WAVE with them.   It says they do not have a WAVE account. I can however add a contact and when I click on their email address it goes directly to my Outlook mailer and I email them from Outlook so pretty much functions on the same basis as it would if I clicked on an email address on a website I was visiting.

I then decided to watch the let’s get started intro that was sitting in my inbox and guess what I’m no further than I am when I first got the invite.

I clicked on search, added some key words and nothing happened but it did save my keyword title in my list. Yeehaah that is helpful, (yeh right)

I twittered about Wave and my colleague Steven Healey said I should add him as it only accepts people on WAVE, tried that, nope nothing happened.  Another colleague suggested I join his how to and must send him my WAVE address, “I HAVE ONE?”  ok, I have no idea what it is, where it is or how I can find it so I’m back to square one.

So here I am feeling like I am seriously going nowhere slowly and having to make a choice as to whether I have the time to read the instructions sllowwwly and work it out, or shelve it for when I must have it.

Google WAVE is making me feel really frustrated and very blonde today.

So I leave Google WAVE today thinking of this song and let’s see what I decide to do Tomorrow, I do however know the answer already, I just need to find the time.

Romany

 
For starters I just want to say that I have joined affiliate links and honestly I have not earned one penny from them.  It’s not because they are not paying me but rather my fault.  It is me who keeps forgetting to add my links, forgets my passwords or can’t be bothered to log in to get the links and go and paste it somewhere.  So no, I don’t actually use them that much at all.

However, I went on a business start up course and the course leader reminded us of how often we recommend other people’s business and services thereby giving them business and yet we don’t get anything in return for it and we should consider perhaps the option of asking for introduction, recommendations and referral fees.  Why not!
On a forum post which was asking for advice and recommendations for a service.  I knew this one particular company who offers an exceptionally good quality service and so I decided to comment.  Remembering what was said on the course, I decided to add my affiliate link.

What! I just committed a cardinal sin!   I got such flack for doing this and could not believe what I was reading from other forum members.

So my question is, what is the big issue? 

There is abuse in anything in life, affiliate links are no exception.  Also, what I don’t understand is offline people get paid referral fees for passing on business.  Online, I can say that most of the websites you visit are affiliate link related.  When you search for a camera, gift, laptop, book online do you think that the sites you are visiting are not affiliate links?  Think again because most of them are.  So what is the big issue here?

I have seen people posting on forums saying that if you do use an affiliate link then you must state that you do.  Again, I just cannot for the life of me figure out what the big issue is, it does not make sense. 

So here I am telling a few colleagues of mine, “oh wow, have you seen Greys Anatomy, brilliant series”, “hang on, just so you know, I’m getting paid if you buy it from my link, but honestly, it is an excellent series, you must see it.”  Truth is whether there is an affiliate link or not, I would still recommend it because I really enjoyed the series, so if there is an opportunity to get paid by the movie company, why should we not capitalise on it, or make use of it.   

If you were my friend and you sent me a link on something you recommended and you used an affiliate link because you felt that the company you are recommending should pay you for passing on business, honestly I would not think less of you.  I would not think for once you tried to scam me. In fact, I would only be too happy to support you.  If I like the product so much I would probably ask you how you got paid for promoting the product.

What are your thoughts on affiliate links?

Do you use them?

What has been your experience?

Would love to hear your views.

Romany Thresher


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