Where to Start?

Becoming familiar with social media

By Patty Swisher Posted on December 12, 2012

So, I’ve volunteered to write this regular short post on Social Media in the A/E/C industry for Columns.  My goal is to share lessons learned with you.

One of the first challenges is understanding what IS social media?  Here is a post that offers 50 variations on the definition of social media. Social media takes many forms including collaborative projects, blogs and microblogs, content communities, social networking sites, and virtual (game) worlds.

You will recognize the ‘big’ social media sites (platforms) and applications including Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and most recently, Pinterest as well as perhaps Flickr, Vimeo, Tumblr, MySpace, and a list of others.  A variety of technologies may be applied when delving into social media including blogs, picture-sharing, video, email, instant messaging, and crowdsourcing.

Social media has developed its own vocabulary – sometimes specific to the site, sometimes general across platforms. Like any new language, at first it is awkward to use; with time comes understanding and comfort.

Of the many challenges with social media one of the biggest hurdles is the varying levels of understanding and participation of the audience or community.  The great thing about social media is that it is SUPPOSED TO BE an opportunity for a two-way conversation, rather than traditional media where the information, facts, and details are reported.

Interaction leads to communication, communication leads to understanding.

Share your comments below.

Patty Swisher is a 15+ year veteran marketing communication professional in the A/E/C industry. She is an SMPS Pittsburgh Past President, current member of the MBA Social Media Task Force (and presenter), and co-founder of Social Media Group Pittsburgh – an organization dedicated to sharing best practices in social media marketing. She can be found on Twitter @pmswish.

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