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Social media and social networking sites offer new opportunities for organizations to publish content and interact with their customers. So just what the heck is Facebook? Why would I upload video to YouTube? Who stole the “e” from Flickr? Answers to these questions and more in this post.

Social Networking Sites Facebook http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook Originally designed for college students; facilitates interaction between friends and colleagues who can leave messages, post articles, photos, add applications; virtual equivalent of “hanging out”

MySpace http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myspace Social networking site targeted towards a broader audience; more garish, wild and wooly.

Linked In http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linked_in Professional networking tool; individual fill out a profile and invite colleagues to join; connections are suggested in a “7 degrees of Kevin Bacon” fashion.

Twitter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter Prefaced on a simple question, “what are you doing?”, Twitter helps its users broadcast their status over the internet to IM clients and SMS-enabled phones. Twitter feeds are published as RSS feeds.

Social Media Sites

YouTube http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YouTube YouTube allows users to upload video where visitors can view and comment. YouTube videos are also distributed via RSS feeds and can be published on remote sites and blogs.

Flickr http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flickr Photo-sharing site where users can upload and tag their photos. Visitors can view and comment. Photostreams can be delivered via RSS.

Wikipedia Wikipedia is a free-for-all encyclopedia that is the scourge of educators everywhere. Editable by anyone, Wikipedia relies on volunteer editors to keep the mob in check. Often a great quick resource, a best practice is to verify Wikipedia information with more reliable sources.

iTunes Podcast Directory A podcast is little more than an RSS feed with links to mp3 or mp4 files. iTunes and other RSS aggregators alert users to new episodes of their favorite amateur (or not-so-amateur) radio or TV show.

Technorati A search engine for blogs

Slashdot/Digg Users submit news articles and engage in discussions about said article. Both sites are known to cripple smaller sites by directing unexpectedly large numbers of visitors to a single page.

Social Bookmarking Sites Del.icio.us / Ma.gnol.ia / Stumble Upon, etc Ever say “I found an article online but I bookmarked it on my computer at home”? If so, then social bookmarking might just be for you. Sign up for an account and you can save your browser bookmarks online and access them from anywhere. Delicious allows users to tag their bookmarks, creating a “folksonony” where users give their opinion of what an article is about.

Concepts and definitions

Cluetrain Manifesto “if you only have time for one clue this year, this is the one to get… ‘We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings – and our reach exceeds your grasp.’” Written and signed in 1999 this document is one of the seminal statements of the Web 2.0 movement.

Blogs Short for “weblog”, blogs are the digital equivalent of the printing press. Anyone can sign up at TypePad or Blogger and start publishing their opinions online. No real understanding of HTML, FTP, Apache or any other web technology is needed other than an internet connection and a browser.

Wikis As described earlier, a wiki is a document that can be edited by anyone. Every iteration is logged and saved allowing for rollback to previous versions in the instance of vandalism.

RSS “Real Simple Syndication” is a standard XML format that allows for standardized distribution of information. It is the backbone of the Web 2.0 movement.

Tagging / Folksonomy Tagging is a more organic system of categorizing content. Blog postings, YouTube videos, Flickr photos are all “tagged” with short, descriptive words to facilitate sifting and winnowing through content more organically.

Web 2.0 The post-bubble internet trends towards social media via RSS as well as the prevalence of APIs to allow the sharing of data and content between web sites and applications.

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