Networking and conversations lead to business, and business makes the world go round.
Social media services perform crucial networking functions, so you need to be plugged in or you will lose out. But a downside is that they can keep you so busy that it’s almost impossible to concentrate when you’re online these days. If it’s not an e-mail, it’s an instant message (IM) from GTalk, Skype or Facebook. If it’s not an IM, it’s alerts from Facebook or Twitter.
Before I go mental and bring an Uzi into work, I’m rationalising the services that I use. Here’s what I’ve narrowed it down to, and why:
IM: Gtalk and Skype are the ones to use – the latter for great video and audio calls. I use Google Mail’s Gtalk because it is so much simpler and quicker than the others.
Social and business networking: I use Facebook mainly for social networking, with a bit of business thrown in. I use LinkedIn.com for business networking. For networking with bloggers and other social media freaks, I rely on mybloglog.com. I’ve generally given up trying to keep a work-personal life separation; it now all blurs into one. Google’s Orkut has never really quite captured my imagination.
Photo sharing: For personal photo sharing, I use Google’s Picasa, even though its sharing abilities were only recently beefed up. I use Flickr for my business-related photos that I don’t mind spreading around the web. My Flickr account is integrated into my blog and my Picasa account on my Facebook profile.
Blogging: Of the many platforms to use, I really think there is only one: WordPress. It’s the best and I have opted for my own install (!_LT_span style=”text-decoration: underline;” target=”_blank” href=”http://www.wordpress.org/”http://www.wordpress.org/!_LT_/a!_LT_/span) rather than a hosted blog account (!_LT_span style=”text-decoration: underline;” target=”_blank” href=”http://www.wordpress.com/”http://www.wordpress.com/!_LT_/a!_LT_/span).
Mobile: Here I use mobile Twitter and Facebook, which are not dedicated mobile sites, but light versions of their web applications. For powerful, integrated social networking that aggregates many of your social networks and internal phone contacts, I use Fring.com which installs on your phone.
Micro-blogging: There is only one worth its salt at the moment and that is Twitter. The irony is that the site is so rickety it keeps collapsing – but somehow has escaped a user rebellion. I’ve integrated my Twitter account with my Facebook status messages so that they are both in sync. Some dismiss Twitter as trivial but it’s a useful networking tool, in much the same way a leisurely game of golf may be used to do business.
Slide-sharing: I do quite a few presentations every year which I upload to Slideshare.net. The great thing about Slideshare is that I’m not only presenting to an audience in a room somewhere, but to a broader worldwide audience. It’s a great motivator to make sure your slides are world class. For example: I delivered a presentation on Future Web Trends to a packed room of about 200 people about 10 months ago, but on Slideshare it’s already had 44,000 views.
Social bookmarking: Some people swear by del.icio.us, but I remain only an occasional user. I prefer my bookmarks to be private, so I rather anti-socially use Google Bookmarks to save my links. I don’t believe in using your browser to bookmark. Rather do it online – your bookmarks are more accessible and easier to find that way.
Social news sites: To see what’s happening on the local web or to post a link I use social news site muti.co.za. It’s our local Digg.com and a great source of tech and social media news. I use Digg occasionally.
!_LT_strongWikis:!_LT_/strong I’m a big Wikipedia user, although I use it in tandem with other sources, as you should do for all reference material. I’m more of a reader than contributor, but every now and again I’ll add my two cents to Wikipedia.
Video sharing: For video sharing, I almost exclusively use YouTube. It just works so well and there is so much variety and content on it. Locally, I dip into Zoopy.com every now and again.
Matthew Buckland is the general manager of publishing and social media at 24.com. Read his blog at !_LT_span style=”text-decoration: underline;” target=”_blank” href=”http://www.matthewbuckland.com/”www.matthewbuckland.com!_LT_/a!_LT_/span.
- This column first appeared in The Media magazine (November 2008).