The big picture of social media

27Sep08

A few days into learning all I can about social media. I’m learning a bit about lots of tools to use, but I don’t think I understand the big picture.  I really wish I could have someone how me understand the best way to breakdown social media.  I’ve seen some talk about it as 1) listening, 2) participating, and 3) leading.  Is that the best way to think of it?  If so, which tools or applications fall best into each of those three? 

I’ve also seen social media broken down as social media, blogging, and SEO (search engine optimization), in which all three overlap a little.  This seems fuzzy to me.  In my mind, I think of it at this point as 5 components:  1) identifying and prioritizing sites (blogs, websites, networks like Facebook, etc.) that share your interests, 2)  listening to what the online community you care about has to say, 3) responding to others’ sites, 4) building your own blog and website, 5) driving and optimizing traffic to your sites, and 6) measuring the effectiveness of your social media efforts.

I’d love to know if these elements make sense or if there is a better way to conceptualize social media.  Once I can do that, I’d like to breakdown all the tools available within each category.  Finally, I want to know specifically what steps I should take and in what logical order, based on ease and effectiveness. 

My other goal is to figure out how to tailor my efforts if I have a national non-profit organization (targeting baby boomers and a health issue) versus a small local business that also targets baby boomers.)

So, tons to learn.

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