How do I manage to get through the social media maze?

Some people ponder as to why they have not yet joined the craze; you know what I mean, the maze or the labyrinth of social media!  But it goes so fast that unless I play the plain follower, I am quickly lost in space… where should I go, which circle should I join, how do I make friends, and, before all, why do I need to go through the hassle of joining and becoming a slave to my machine?  There are so many beautiful things around the world…

The answer is simple: the world is virtual and the third largest country is on the web: it is called FaceBook and it has 500,000,000 people logged onto it.  Picture that, one out of 14 people have given up their freedom and joined the club; only one difference with a country, there are neither presidents nor kings, neither laws nor justice, neither rules nor policies, just a plain get-together, or, in fact, aiming for it with organizations like gigantic happy hours.

Just remains the typical question that we all have with regards to social media: WHY join?

  1. Just a fad: if I do not join, I may soon be considered a laggard.
  2. A useful connexion tool: if I join, I get invitations galore to parties.
  3. Some sharing opportunity: do I really everyone to see my stupid pictures?
  4. Public Relations for free: then, I should better be careful to what goes in!
  5. For people to know where I am: geo-localisation is getting better by the day.

It is not as simple as the only answer to good real estate: location, location, location!

As for organisations, they have not yet understood the full benefit of social media: plain collaboration encouraged throughout the company network from inside to outside. They have tended to bear the brunt of negative marketing (I hate to think what has gone onto social media regarding British Petroleum, way beyond the negative press they got worldwide!)  Is their answer going to be the setting-up of one’s own tool in order to keep control?

In the end, nobody has the choice today of logging onto the net; even the financial capacity to do so has no bearing anymore: it is cheaper than a smoke and gives you potentially more pleasure!  The Vatican, the very « first » country in the world with no borders, has realized it needed to give some dynamic spirit to its presence on the web, especially in answer to their recent problems, but also because it is a way to bring people together throughout: SHARE!

And now, what do I do to join? I follow my buddies on the same system, or I make a concerted effort to understand the intricacies of existing systems.  If there are a few key social media today (FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, Viadeo, YouTube, etc.), there are more than 500 of them, each vying for knowledge, as we all know size is best for marketing reasons.  Big or small, open or closed, viable or hard-to-use, books are coming out to explain the maze.

I have found one that just came out, from an expert in social networking: Louis-Serge Real del Sarte.  This gentleman has one of the widest circles of connexions that I have ever seen, and he is a master of keeping in touch with all of the people that got inside!  And what he has done is publish an extensive worldwide guide of social media, identifying 500 of them and giving information in a dictionary-like form on each of them.

If the book, Les Réseaux Sociaux sur Internet (Alphée, La Passion d’Editer)  is only in French, the glossary gives the full repertory of sites that can give a lead to anyone interested in going further than the basic follower of crowds.  Check it out, it is worth having a look!

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