Here are SIX ways to start your engagement with Social Media.
Social Media is probably the greatest self learning environment I have ever encountered. I learn something new everyday. The mental stimulation is continous but the quantity of information can rapidly lead to overload. Hence the importance of structure and frameworks to help you think your way through the maze that is the social web.
Listening in this context is not a purely auditory experience – attune yourself to the wave lengths along which information is being broadcast and you will find more than one road to knowledge.
The first of these is the published written word – off line and the old fashioned way – reading books. There have been an explosion of titles published on business and social web issues over the last 10 years. One of the best reference publishing houses is Wiley and for a general search of titles their website is a good place to start. There are also a wide range of free e-books which can be down loaded – on this subject more below.
Although Twitter is a micro-blogging platform, it is also a great source of information. Search and Find some of the thought leaders in your area of interest and expertise and follow their time lines. Often you will find links to articles and blogs they have written or have found of interest on other peoples blogs.
By “listening” to the conversation on Twitter you can learn much about your areas of interest and it is all free.
Twitter can lead you to blogs but this can be limited by the people you already know and follow. To find new sites I would suggest you try a blog search engine such as Topsite which allows you to put in topics and keywords to find sites and blogs of interest to you.
A good blog will have original content, opinion and will enable you to share the knowledge and experience.
Not everyone however has the time to read lots of Blogs. I certainly do not have as much time as I would like to read my favourites.
Another way to “listen” is by finding and downloading podcasts. These are audio files which you can download to your computer or MP3 player and listen in the car, when you are out walking or training in the Gym. There are podcasts on every subject you can think of. I download mine from itunes (you can do this with a Mac or a PC). If you do not already have it you can download itunes here. In iTunes, click on the iTunes Store in the left hand column to go to the site. You can select Podcast from the top menu or simply put a topic or keyword into the search box and then filter the results by selecting podcasts. Once you have found a podcast you want to learn more about, click on its icon to go to its iTunes page. This will give you information about the topics covered, the author, a link to their website and the list of the podcasts they have uploaded. You can either select one to listen to or to download, click on the subscribe button (check it is free – nearly all are – if you do not want to pay). Then go to your podcasts in your iTunes library and you can choose which podcasts to download to your computer. When you connect and synchronise your MP3 player, the files will be copied across.
More compelling and attention grabbing content can be found on YouTube. This is all about Video. This is one of the fastest growing parts of the information web and an amazing source of content which is easily searchable. YouTube is actually the second largest search site after Google (who also own it).
Using the search function you will be able to find dozens of video content explaining, helping and sharing knowledge. If a picture is worth a thousand worths – video is certainly worth more than a few pictures.
Slideshare can be found here. This site allows users to share powerpoint presentations, PDFs and video and its another great source of information. Often the graphic back up or pdf ebook providing additional information to a podcast or a blog can be found here. Again with great search capabilities it can be explored too.
The great takeaway from this blog is that the Social Media community is out there and is giving and sharing great knowledge, How To… and other content. If you are new to Web 2.0 and a little hesitant about diving in with a blog of your own, then I advise you to spend some time exploring these resources and learning from the fantastic range of media and content available free, a the click of a mouse!
The next blog in this series will be Executing – getting started in Social Media!