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Social media is what you make it

February 14, 2009

Social media = virtual assistant. I can’t be online all the time, but my virtual assistant can.

The amount of time I spend using social media to network each day ranges from 30 minutes to two hours. I invest time in social media sites because these sites are tools to keep up-to-date with what other people are doing in my industry (media / newspapers). But I am more than an editor; I am a woman, mother, wife, photographer, writer, student, vegetarian, cook, gardener, genealogist … well, you get the idea.

Find people / resources: I check Twitter three times a day. I use an application called TweetDeck that runs Twitter in the background. TweetDeck has features that Twitter doesn’t have.  Some of the people I “follow” on Twitter share information about my chosen career and others tweet about my personal interests. A tweet is a post on Twitter. It’s a bird-theme.

Sharing information on LinkedIn is how I came to network with Toby Bloomberg of Diva Marketing blog. We first met through posts in a LinkedIn discussion group. There are LinkedIn discussion groups for various industries and interests. Joining discussion groups is the best way to network on LinkedIn.

Toby writes about marketing and keeping up-to-date through social media, among other well written posts on her blog. I was looking for just that type of information to publish in the Sun Journal Women’s Journal newspaper supplement and asked Toby if she would be interested in writing a short article for the supplement. She agreed to write an article about social media and her article has been well received. The article has been shared with my co-workers, friends and family who are not using social media yet, but are curious as to what it means to use SM.

Once Toby’s article was published in the Sun Journal Women’s Journal newspaper supplement, I got busy and tweeted the link on Twitter several times a day for several days. It is a timeless, useful article and I can re-tweet the link to it again. I also posted the link to the article on other sites including LinkedIn, Facebook, this blog, and Tumblr. Likewise, Toby has tweeted about the article on Twitter, her blog, and Facebook. 

You can imagine how the possibilities increase with each tweet on Twitter or post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, and blogs that your information and link will be seen by someone specifically looking for that information.

LinkedIn and Facebook both have a spot reserved for a post on what you are working on or what you are doing. This post is something that regular visitors to your LinkedIn profile or your Facebook page will look at first. This is the perfect spot to toot your latest blog post or a link to a Web site you find helpful. After Toby’s article was published, my LinkedIn and Facebook posts went something like this: “Denise says to visit Sun Journal Women’s Journal for an article on using social media to increase your business network.”

College and social media: As a college student I am required to use the newest technologies as I move through my courses. So far, the online Psychology course required the most Internet use via an online message board in which students were required to post a certain number of essay-type answers to questions posted by the instructor. There was a catch: if your post was one of the first two posts to a question, you were exempt from having to include a response in your post to earlier posters to that question.

The instructor sent e-mails suggesting that since a student had taken the time to include another student in their post, that the other student should then reply back. This kept the message board fresh. This course also allowed students to purchase only the chapters necessary for the course thru an online textbook vendor. The instructor had created a series of DVDs from a recent semester in which the course was taught in the traditional classroom manner.

Those DVDs were needed to “attend” the lectures, unless you wanted to download and watch the lectures online which took way too long. The students in the traditional classroom used a digital apparatus that signed their attendance sheet each class so they had to bring it to class. They also answered multiple-choice questions in class with the device. The answers were displayed after the 30 seconds were up.

It was quite comical sometimes to see how far off some answers were to the correct answer, and this is after having just been given the information. The instructor knew immediately if students were paying attention. Those of us taking the course online became judgmental of some of the classroom students. We (virtual students) felt as if we were in the classroom and there was a general agreement as to how annoying a certain student was in the physical classroom.

Professor John Broida is an excellent instructor at the University of Southern Maine and I highly recommend his online courses. He has taught other instructors how to structure courses for online study. Very smart man.

I am an Arts & Humanities student at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College and I love the variety of courses, both required and electives. One of the instructors in this major has created a Ning site for Arts & Humanities students, which is yet another social media networking site.

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