Social media is something of a buzz term in online right now. Facebook, Plurk, blogging, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Twitter… The list goes on. We’ve probably all heard of most of them, but really, is there any point?
Yes, is the shortest answer.
But just how can social media make life easier?
Keeping in Touch
A few years ago, you probably wouldn’t have kept in touch with all of your school friends. People flit off all over the world, marry, settle, work abroad… Things change and people move on. But thanks to sites like Facebook you can find out what all your friends are up to and send messages quickly and easily. Of course, it’s no substitute for a face to face catch up, but it makes keeping in touch with people from all over the world much easier (and cheaper than international phone calls)!
Linkedin is a social networking site specifically for professional networking. This and others like it have sped up the way in which we network drastically. Facebook allows people to network with others in a similar field from all over the world. Are these people you would have encountered without the Internet? Probably not. It enables you to expand your network to international levels and make valuable contacts.
Keeping an Eye on the Kids!
Perhaps not the most conventional use of the platform, but social media sites are widely used by children and teenagers. Telling your teen they can use the sites, providing of course that they ad you to their profile, will enable you to be in the know about the company they’re keeping. It offers a certain level of reassurance.
Keeping up with the News
I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t seem to be able to make time to watch the news on the TV day in, day out. Of course I can always read the news on various news sites, but sites like Twitter now enable you to ‘follow’ your favourite news source and receive the headlines in short snippets! This gives you the opportunity, if something catches your eye, to then go read the full article. For me, a browse through the Twitter feed I have set up just for news is enough to make sure I know what’s going on and don’t feel so out of touch.
Interacting with Customers
A fine example of this is with @VirginTrains Virgin Trains on Twitter. They’re a huge company, but have someone to personally respond to complaints, questions or concerns they receive via Twitter. Indeed a very inspired way to use the platform. This gives Virgin a very good reputation for customer care and allows the customers the opportunity to have a personal response to a question, rather than dealing with automated telephone services!
This list just scratches the surface. As social media continues to grow (and grow it will with the recent unveiling of Google’s Buzz), the applications for its use will continue to grow too. And of course everyone has their own personal way of using social media sites.