Tuesday, April 13, 2010

10 Reasons to be on Social Media

After giving several talks and lectures on social media in Singapore and the region, I realize that social media seemed to be still very new in Singapore, especially amongst the Gen-X and baby boomers.

In Singapore, there are more than 1 million Facebook users, and there is a growing importance bloggers and other social media influencers play in our daily lives.

With twitter gaining popularity, the number of users greatly increased after celebrities start to use this social media platform. Micro-blogging is a form of multimedia blogging that allows users to send brief text updates or micromedia such as photos or audio clips and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user.

With the gaining popularity of mobile social media applications and devices in Singapore, users who were previously using sms-es are starting to get on social media in a big way, participating in Foursquare, updating their Facebook and Twitter Statuses, or viewing videos on YouTube.

Many people want to know why are there so many people getting on social media, and here are some reasons that I can think of.

1) Networking - You can find all sorts of people on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Web 2.0 allows you to build up a strong network of people that share similar interests which you can find in groups. You can sometimes rely on the expertise of these people and as they come from varied backgrounds, having these people in your network is definitely great if you need to seek advice on a topic you do not understand.

2) Updated news - I could not believe how fast some of these news show up on twitter. Being on twitter, the news show up real time and unlike certain newspapers of news source, the current events you get from twitter is varied and may give you a very balanced or skewed new on a certain topic. I found out the winner of the recent F1 race even before the race ends on my live TV - talk about real time report!

3) Friendship - Updating your status or what you are doing can allow you to stay connected with your friends and family. Reading about your friend's tweets and status updates about their newborn lets you stay in touch with them, even when you cannot be there. You can also make new friends, and people with similar interests.

4) Information - You definitely get a lot of information about your industry or interests. You can find almost everything on the web, thanks to search engines, and search engines today are even trying to keep up with the real time content of social media networks. What's even better, you can post a question to your followers and sometimes they will reply you with a link of what you need!

5) Entertainment - There are tons of quotes, jokes and funny picture or video links. Endless entertainment on Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow celebrities and know what they are doing or are planning to do. Its fun!

6) Events and meet ups - Tweetups are getting more and more common, and it is quite funny that many people who are usually not social butterflies, fell more comfortable to come to a "TweetUp" or a twitter event to meet their fellow friends whom they have never met in real life on these events. It is a great way to go out and meet new people. Local events are also getting common on Facebook, and you can search for open events in your area to participate to gt to know more people.

7) Job Search - In this financial crisis, any new source where you can find a job would be a bonus isn't it? Just do a #Jobs or #Job search with #location for more specific jobs on Twitter. There are a few groups on LinkedIn just dedicated for job searches and job openings as well. It is a great place to meet others and possibly, land a new job.

8) Find someone to chat - It is easy to go to a trending topic of interest, find who is talking about it and start a chat. You can always find a friend online on your Facebook page and start a chat if you are bored or just need someone to talk to.

9) Develop Weak Ties - Weak ties can be powerful, but challenging to build across cultures, languages, and preferred sites. Weak ties are powerful because they can give you what close friends and community often cannot (e.g., different ideas, connections, resources, models, etc)

10) Personal Branding - As the information on social media is searchable and for public consumption, your ideas and your values can be shared and you can become a thought leader in your field if you share your thoughts and opinion professionally. Giving your opinion on current topics, sharing your knowledge about your industry can provide good information for people searching for it. Being open to discuss these topics can allow people to discover your passion and brand yourself as an expert, as well as create more awareness for your company and its services.

-- Robin Low

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