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New Facebook Layout >> Can We Just Have Our ‘Dislike’ Button? [POLL]

There’s no hiding the fact that people have recently come together for a common cause: to moan and gripe about Facebook’s new profile layout. What exactly are they saying?

Media outlets wasted no time in reporting on the resentment users felt toward Facebook and its new layout.

The Huffington Post reported yesterday that the New Facebook brought, among other new features, hatred. Fresno, California’s ABC30-Action News interviewed students at a local university, discussing the irritations users were experiencing with the new layout.

I asked a few of my followers yesterday what they each thought about the new layout and, while some repsonses differed, the majority was that the new layout was just confusing and seemed rather pointless to change something that didn’t need changing. I raised the question:

In developing a series of blogs on your reactions and changes in the world of social networking, how do you HONESTLY feel about the new Facebook layout? Don’t just say “I don’t (or do) like it” — tell me why!

In a matter of minutes, the reactions came in. There were comments I found on yesterday’s blog post that expressed the same resentment toward the new layout.

‘Someone else shouldn’t decide what’s important for me.’

With Facebook’s new “Top Stories” feature, it comes down to the sad reality that the social networking platform will decide what would be the most interesting for you to read. In reality, it seems not a lot of people like being told what is interesting and what is not. Who would?
Also, there is resistance coming from the fact that many users can’t see all of their friends at once. “I found that some things that I actually want to see from people don’t even show up unless I go looking for their profile,” said Nicole W.

‘I don’t like lists for Facebook’

One of the other newest features that Facebook introduced was the little “Ticker” at the upper right-hand corner of the home screen. “The right side panel shares what my friends are commenting on, liking, etc.” said Michelle L.

The biggest gripe about the Ticker is that, to many, it seemed a bit “stalker-ish.” You could see every little digital move that a friend was doing. Facebook’s reasoning? It would make it easier for one friend to connect with another, by seeing a real-time feed of what your connections (or, ‘friends’) were doing every second.

Why can’t we just have a “Dislike” button, like people have been wanting in the past? Seems like it would really come in handy now!

The biggest question, I pose to you: WHAT DO YOU THINK? Let me know!

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New Facebook Profile Layout: The Better To Stalk You With, My Dear

If you’re a user of the ever-changing Facebook, then you’ve probably already noticed the new… wait for it… LAYOUT.

A few of my online friends wasted little to no time in sharing their views of the procrastination outlet. Some friends linked the change of layout to Google Plus’ recent accessibility to the public (that’s right, there’s no invitation required now):

One inquired about the profile layout’s effect on Facebook’s mobile app:

The award for “Best Reaction to Facebook’s Layout Change,” in my opinion, goes to the friends who are going to switch social networking platforms as a result of the change and it being too difficult to understand:
What does this profile layout change mean for YOU?
Let’s admit it, Facebook (for many, including myself) was starting to turn into a website where we would spend most of our time aimlessly scrolling through profiles, photo albums and a News Feed. It was the place we went to procrastinate when we had to write a term paper or get a LOT of work done at the office.

If you’re a long-time Facebook user like I am, granted I subscribed and have been loyal since the start of 2007, you may remember the BASIC layout and the original photo uploader with the ability to put “Bumper Stickers” and “Wall Graffiti” on friends’ walls. Remember that?

BUT Facebook has definitely done out with the old and in wit hthe new add-ons and features.

I usually attempt to remain unbiased in these blogs, but I have to say that the new Facebook layout seems like an all-too-easy way to… ahem… stalk your friends.

Here are some of the changes:
Blocking Options
There are new and very extensive security measures that Facebook has now taken with the new layout. It has now become possible to completely block a person from seeing your extire existence online. The settings, however, aren’t as easy to use as they once were.
While before, you could go up to your Privacy Settings and go through each section of your profile and adjust who can see what, it’s not as easy to do anymore.
Idea: Facebook could make privacy settings more user-friendly.

A few months ago, Facebook launched a trial run of this new layout, in which it tested a feature called “The Ticker.” This real-time news feed appeared at the upper right portion of the profile, allowing users to see every Like, Comment and View that a friend made on anybody’s profile.
The part that really bothers me is the fact that it is extremely simple to know just about EVERYTHING that someone is doing in just a matter of seconds. While much of that information was rather easily accessible in the past (e.g., go to a friend’s profile and see his or her’s “action”), it has now become almost brainless to see what people are doing.
Idea: Stop being annoying and weird, Facebook–go back to your friendly and fun self!

Friend Categorization and Subscription
Have you added a new friend yet on Facebook? Are you SURE they’re you’re friend? Or just an acquaintance? Facebook now allows users the option to categorize a new friend as either… OR a list name of your choice. Along with becoming someone’s “friend,” you can also subscribe to friends.
In essence, you can remain friends with whomever you want and subscribe to posts only from those individuals you find “worthy enough” to follow.
Idea: Facebook, stop copying Google Plus–your subscriptions are just like Circles. If I wanted Circles of Friends, I’d go to Google Plus… or just get a REAL social life.

SMS Notifications
This isn’t a “new” feature, but it’s still available and is still a bit creepy. You can take your mobile phone and link it with Facebook… Correction, with somebody’s profile. Each time this person writes a new status, you’ll get a text notification saying something like “Carlos Perez says…. // To reply, simply type your response here…”
A bit ridiculous to keep up on people so closely, yes.
A bit MORE ridiculous to have someone’s information simply texted to your phone.

Ultimately, I see it as this: the amount of information you are willing to publish online is your choice, and it could potentially devastate anyone’s reputation. Once things are posted to Facebook (or Twitter, or Google Plus, or LinkedIn), any content become public domain forever. You’ll notice the three screenshots I took from friends’ profiles, I politely blocked out their photos and last names–I didn’t have to do that.

HOW DO YOU FEEL about the new layout?? Please share!

Unconventional Methods Of Measuring Social Media Success

I find it interesting that there are people who base their “social media success” on how many friends, followers and connections he or she has in his or her network on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, respectively.

If that is how your company chooses to base its “success” (on a quantitative level), then more power to you and your business!

I, however, like to view social media success through a more qualitative lens. I like to think how many people in my network are engaged and responsive, versus how many people in my network do I have to struggle to get a response from?

See the difference? See how the latter question is much more difficult to attain an answer to than the former?

But how does one know IF he or she HAS achieved that qualitative success–those engaged friends, followers or connections?

Sure, there are tools and “apps” that will help you gauge your social media success. We see those types of articles frequently posted by social media and PR news hubs such as PRDaily and SocialMediaExaminer.

Here are some methods that I’ve found helpful that are not as conventional as methods you might find in other articles, and can be determined regardless of your personal network size:

 

  • [LinkedIn] >> Profile Views

    In my opinion, the profile views option on LinkedIn is one of the most underrated privileges a person has on this social networking site. In this section of your LinkedIn profile page (usually the bottom right portion of the screen), you have the opportunity to see how many visitors have viewed your profile within the past “#” days.

    If you’re looking to build a strong network, this number is very important. In essence, this amount tells you how many people are trying to connect with you or simply want to find out more about you. The lower the number, consider this: is my profile difficult to find? Have I given people enough reason/opportunity to find me on LinkedIn?

 

  • [Twitter] >> Follower to List Ratio

    How many lists are following you on Twitter? One? Seven? None?
    I have such sincere appreciation for users who have included me in their Twitter lists. The fact that one of my followers is engaged enough in what I have to say (or… Tweet) that he or she would find my Twitter account and closely track my feed isn’t something to be taken for granted.
    There are other bloggers who have laid out how to calculate your Follower to List Ratio and you’re more than welcome to figure it out on your own. IF you figure it out, let me know what your number is!
    Having a large amount of followers on Twitter is great… but how many of those followers are engaged enough to include you in their lists?

 

  • [Wordpress] >> Retweets and Comments Per Page View

    We would be apt to think that the more posts one puts on his or her page, the more view he or she will get and the more activity the blog will see. How can a blogger, then, be able to calculate just how much success (again, the quality) he or she is gaining from all these views.
    Two ways: 1) consider how many comments you’re getting per post. Me? I’m not getting a whole LOT of comments because my network isn’t huge and I’ve only just started blogging. 2) How many retweets has your blog received? If you’ve received 800 page views and only 10 retweets, you’ve essentially gained 1 retweet for every 80 page views — not the best, but better than nothing, eh?

Tips For Using LinkedIn To Get A New Job

Last month, I applied at a local marketing agency [which I will refer to it as JobOne]. I interviewed but didn’t hear back from them. A few days after interviewing with JobOne, I applied and was hired at my current job [which I will refer to it as NewJob]. A week after starting my new position, I received an email from the President/CEO of JobOne, saying something to the extent of:

Carlos,

I was recently looking at your LinkedIn account and see you’ve found employment. I am very disappointed in my company for not getting back to you sooner. While we are very pleased and wish you the best at NewJob, I suppose this gives truth to the saying, ‘If you snooze… you lose.’
If your situation ever changes, however, please be sure to contact me, as we would gladly take you in.

President/CEO of JobOne

My first thought? WOW–they’d want to hire me.
My second thought? Potential employers ACTUALLY check out LinkedIn!
My final thought? How can I optimize my profile for other future employers to find me a strong candidate for employment?

Here are five tips I’ve found in research (and experience) on how to use LinkedIn to find a job:

  • Take the initiative and search for jobs yourself
    LinkedIn offers its users a GREAT source of employment opportunities, if they know how to search. Simply go to the LinkedIn Jobs page and type in the search bar what field you’re looking for (e.g., public relations, social media, management, etc.) and simply hit “Search.”

 

  • Optimize your profile
    I’ve seen too many profiles that are not completely filled out. Does every single detail need to be filled out on your LinkedIn profile? No, not necessarily. Fill out vital information (e.g., job history, skill set, interests) and delve into your network. Join LinkedIn Groups and see who’s talking in that group and then join the conversation they’re having. Use LinkedIn applications and develop a user-specific URL for your profile so you can easily direct people to it. Example: linkedin.com/in/YOURNAME.
  • Update your status ASAP
    As soon as you begin the job search, update your status to let your connections know that you’re searching for a new job and you are well-qualified, after years of studying (or working at a previous job).
    You might have some connections that are looking for a new employee (or maybe THEY know someone and can refer you).
  • Get relevant recommendations
    It’s great to know that your personal friends think you’re “such a funny guy” BUT, when it comes to LinkedIn, find former managers, professors, colleagues and clients to give you professional recommendations. If a recruiter looks at your profile, he or she is going to want to know what other people are saying and think about you.
  • See who knows who
    This is fun–it is kind of like you’re a “professional investigator,” trying to help yourself: run a search on LinkedIn for a prospective employer’s company name, while cross-referencing any colleges you’ve attended, and your past workplaces. Doing so, you can pull up anyone you know who is or has been involved with a prospective employer. Ask if he or she has any insight to the company’s culture and how he or she was successful in getting a job there. EVEN BETTER: if he or she knows the person in charge of the company’s hiring, he or she may be able to help you with an inside connection.

Turn My Internship Into A Job? How?

Stand out in the crowd--Increase your chances of making that internship a job.

Before I graduated college, I held an internship with a business incubator at California State University, Fresno, as its public relations specialist. The Lyles Center taught me quite a bit about one’s stereotypical internship — trust me, an internship isn’t necessarily just all about stuffing envelopes and licking stamps.

Rather, an internship can be whatever it is you make it out to be.
Am I still working with the Lyles Center? No.
Did I find a job thanks to the Lyles Center? Yes.

There are a few things you should know/do, in order to increase your chances of finding employment after (or during) that internship:

  • Say Hello
    Anyone else familiar with that awkward silence when walking past somebody and you both stare off into the distance, look at your phone or at your hand–anywhere BUT the person about to walk past you?
    Don’t do that.
    When you pass by somebody –the mail person, your boss, the company’s CEO– just take two seconds to say “Hello.” It will immediately do three things: 1) Ease the awkwardness, 2) Potentially brighten up your day (or there’s) because you didn’t ignore one another, and 3) Make you a memorable person.
    After you greet that other person with a simple ‘hello,’ he or she will be sure to remember you and would be much more willing to keep an intern who is personable rather than one who looks at his or her hand to avoid acknowledgement with others!
  • Participate
    Be involved in the company you’re interning with. Do they have a ‘party planning committee’? Join it. Do they hold regular company meetings? Ask questions. Give suggestions.
    Businesses don’t simply want an intern to do work for them–they want an intern who will invest with them and help the company grow in new ways.
    Even if you’re in a meeting and you simply say “Yes, I agree with the new policy because…” you will be noticed by people in the office who may not have noticed you before. Standing out to a company can be very helpful for you in the future.
  • Be Willing
    If you’ve been to many interviews (or even just a couple), this question will usually arise: “Tell us about yourself.” It’s the dreaded question many of us don’t quite know how to properly answer. One of things that you can’t go wrong in saying is that you are willing to do anything for the company.
    Companies want to hire employees that are willing to partake in anything and willing to take on extra tasks (but also willing to speak up if you can’t make a deadline).
    This trait can take a multitude of levels.
    Remember the Lyles Center that I worked for? There was a side project I did at Fresno State for “Squirrel Appreciation Week” where I dressed up as a squirrel. Did that make me memorable? You bet it did. Among everyone in the office, I was the only one willing to dress in the costume, and among everyone in the office, I was one of the only employees who everybody knew.
    I’m not saying you have to dress as the company mascot–I’m saying that it is your willingness as an employee that will help you attain a job.
  • Strive
    People who tend to get the full-time job offers are those who are in it for the long haul. People who will stay the extra hours in the office to finish up a report and complete a presentation are the people who are most likely to be looked at and considered first when hiring season commences.
    Keep up with your former job contacts, even if it’s been months after your internship has ended. Lend a hand of projects or events that the company might be doing (even if your internship is over).
    Don’t wait for offers to come to you — go to them.

If you remember nothing else, remember this — With persistence, you can make things happen.

You don't have to dress like a squirrel at your internship... but I did.

QR Codes: What Are They? How Do I Get One? Are They At Your Church?

If you work in a marketing or public relations department, chances are you’ve already heard those two letters that are [supposedly] the “newest venture” of advertising: Q.R.

Then you probably sat back in your chair and said to yourself: What does Q.R. stand for? Quick Research? Questionable Response? Qualitative Reading?

The actual definition is simply Quick Response. The full title? Quick Response Code (QR Code).

What is a QR Code?

Use a QR Reader to Scan the QR Code and Visit Me On LinkedIn

If you haven’t heard of them by now, I’ll break them down in a few easy points:

  • Originating in Japan, QR Codes bring a new method of advertising to the general public
  • A QR Code can be read (or scanned) by QR readers on your smartphone (Android, iPhone, etc.)
  • QR Codes will take a piece of transitory media and put it in your phone
  • A two-dimensional barcode, a QR Code, has incoded in it either a URL, text or other information that will appear once it is scanned

Simple!

How are QR Codes being used?

QR Codes are already being used on product packaging, magazine articles, advertisements on billboards and buses and even some shirts have the two-dimensional barcode printed on them.

Some young professionals are now placing QR Codes on a printed resume (or a business card), presenting that to a potential employer, leading said employer to the young professional’s online portfolio.

Now, you may even find some churches using QR Codes to link to a religious podcast or the church’s website to find additional information from the bulletin.

How can I generate a QR Code?

Initially, I was under the impression that I’d have to hire someone a couple hundred dollars to generate a QR Code for my LinkedIn profile (see image at the top of this post), but it turns out I didn’t have to spend a penny!

There are a few different QR Code generating websites to which you simply input your URL and a barcode will develop for you, in seconds:

  • Kaywa — Allows you to develop a code for a URL, text, a phone number or an SMS. This website also gives you the opportunity to select the size code you want (S, M, L, XL).
  • Querify! — Gives you the option to input any type of text you’d like, and also provides you with the four easy steps to make that code you’ve always wanted.
  • Delivr — There’s room for “error” with Delivr, as this generator gives you the option to select how large of a margin you want your code to have and how much room for ‘error’ you want to allow for a QR reader.
  • Create QR Code — One of the simplest sites to develop your code, CreateQRCode simply asks you to input your text and select the dimesions you want your code in and that’s it!

Very easy, isn’t it?

Where have YOU seen QR Codes? Have you scanned any of them? What did you think? Were they useful?

Examples of Internal Use of Social Media

170 - Typing

Photo by Flickr user: LaMenta3.

Internal use of social media is something that businesses are slowly beginning to adopt. Some companies use social media outlets (e.g., Facebook accounts, personal blogs) to develop a strong internal voice for employees, wherein they are able to express their concerns or suggestions about their work. Other businesses have specific social media websites that allow employees to connect with one another, in hopes of forming a more comfortable work environment.

In researching this fairly new trend, I ran across three main examples of how businesses are internally utilizing social media.

1) Corporate Blogs

For the avid social media user, blogs are nothing new. There are two primary types of blogs: the public-driven and the internal variety. The public blogs can offer consumers a more intimate view of a company’s product or the employees of the business. From a business perspective, the public blogs can provide targeted content to the public, in hopes to raise revenue or simply interest in the product it is promoting.

Kodak’s public blog is a prime example of this targeted content: the majority of the posts focus primarily on photography and not Kodak’s cameras. Since common sense tells us that photographs can only be obtained through the use of a camera, Kodak is then targeting an audience that would genuinely care about their product (the camera). From there, the audience is more likely to transition from “blog reader” to consumer.

The second type of corporate blog, the internal variety, is primarily used as a community hub where employees are able to meet, share their latest work-related news or troubleshoot any business challenges they are facing. This type of communication is essential in the field of public relations, as practitioners need to stay on top of the latest news and trends, to develop the most relevant campaigns.

In addition, this internal communication provides unity amongst employees who voice their concerns or opinions and are promptly attended to.

2) Yammer.com

Some might argue this as an office version of Twitter. Companies must set up their own corporate account and only then, can employees use their work e-mail addresses to create their own internal account.

With Yammer, business can create profiles and employees can update their company on either progress on a current project or simply how lunch was. This internal social media outlet offers the opportunity to improve internal communication while simultaneously boosting team morale.

From a public relations perspective, Yammer also introduces many employees to the uses of other social media websites (like Twitter). The more familiar and comfortable the employees are with forms of microblogging, the more likely the company will be able to pick up Twitter accounts as both a customer service and product marketing channel.

While I couldn’t log into a Yammer account, I was able to find that businesses such as Cisco, Nationwide and Groupon are using Yammer as a form of interoffice communication.

3) Pligg.com

This corporate social tool is similar to the public social tool, Digg. Pligg can be customized solely for corporate use, in which all social activity among employees will relate to a product or brand. Some companies are building Pligg into their existing intranets, in an attempt to develop social bookmarking with their staff.

From what I’ve discovered, Pligg can be used as a website to motivate an employee’s thinking of an idea through the use of a voting and ranking system that has made its counterpart (Digg) such a large success. A company’s ability to call upon the staff to offer unique thoughts or ideas and voice their experienced opinions in one website is helpful, to say the least.

Ultimately, companies are able to make the most out of internal use of social media by being able to harness collective thinking and collaborative efforts among employees, for a greater outcome.

Not Just For Teens–Why Businesses Are Using Social Networking Sites

One might call it an epidemic: high school and college students are no longer talking in person, as their primary means of communication is found online, on Facebook. Others see it as a godsend: businesses can now reach out to consumers in ways they would have never imagined, more than 20 years ago.

With Facebook having more than 500 million active users and Twitter claiming more than 106 million registered users, it seems almost mandatory that businesses focus their attention to the online community. Of the variety of outlets that businesses now have in the world of social media, I examined three main websites that businesses use primarily and tried to discover why they’re using these outlets.

Facebook.com

Facebook has become the online tool for business to connect directly to communities and to consumers. Online forums still exist, but began to fade as Facebook’s popularity grew. Facebook’s 2006 decision to open itself up to third-party developers sparked this decision. If you’ll recall from an earlier post I created, “Facebook for Everyone,” I closely examined how public relations professionals could utilize Facebook to their advantage.

I’ve found that businesses tend to use Facebook in a means similar to that of public relations practitioners. There are two primary ways that businesses get engaged in this specific social networking website: groups, and business-to-consumer communication.

An excellent way to keep interested consumers informed about your business or organization is to develop a Facebook Group. Facebook groups are an in-depth means of communication for businesses to focus their attention on a specific subject (e.g., a seasonal sale or a new product launch).

People will join a business’ Facebook group because they want to stay informed about the business. Therefore, it is imperative that a business continually update their group with valuable information. Unlike spam e-mail or bothersome “junk mail,” Facebook Groups can be visited at a customer’s convenience–businesses must have the information available.

Twitter.com

We live in a busy world, to say the least, and now most people don’t have the time to sit and read a full-length blog. Twitter offers its users a place to update the most valuable information of a company (or a person’s life) in a concise manner (140 characters or less).

The smart business is not using Twitter as an advertising channel, wherein they continually talk about their products or services. Most businesses use Twitter as a marketing channel to promote their own business profile and remain involved with their “followers.” Some companies utilize Twitter as a medium to promote special deals and because of Twitter’s broad reach, thousands of “followers” receive the information instantaneously on their computers or mobile devices.

Myspace.com

One can argue that this once-popular social networking site began its downfall in 2006, with Facebook making itself openly available. MySpace.com, however, still offers itself as a good means of social marketing and some businesses still use it.

Marketing oneself on this social website, however, can be a bit tricky–many community members look down upon blatant commercials and advertisements. MySpace is sometimes seen, by some, as a place to simply advertise oneself rather than develop one’s personal brand. What I tend to find on MySpace is smaller brands or personalities developing profile pages that build an online following rather than marketing. Browsing through the profile pages on MySpace, it’s easy to find hundreds of music bands with MySpace pages.

One tactic that nonprofit organizations are using to build their brand, is having “fans” recommend their organization to friends online. Yet another tactic is to have employees build personal profile pages on MySpace and spread the message of the nonprofit through details shared on these personal pages.

As with all good marketing strategy, it’s beneficial to develop useful content for followers, friends and fans to read. Businesses need to adhere to what their customers want and create messages that will be most advantageous to those consumers.

Ultimately, this all begins with choosing which social networking site will be best for your business.

**For a map of a few Fresno businesses that maintain a social media presence, click here.

Blogging: Your “PR Voice” Heard Around the World

There are millions of blogs on the Internet, and with millions of blogs come millions of opinions. For most, a blog is a “safe haven” or a place where one can share personal opinions and viewpoints to millions of people (or, at least to those who will take the time to listen). It’s simple for anybody to log on to blogging sites such as Blogger or WordPress and create a professional-looking blog in a matter of minutes.

What many people forget is that there are some public relations professionals who use blogs to not just share personal viewpoints, but organizational and professional ones as well. Public relations professional Dave Fleet, for example, won’t simply blog about the day’s happenings, but will use his blog as a means of “exploring the intersection of communications, marketing and social media.” Brian Solis also offers an astonishing amount of public relations knowledge through his blog.

As for myself, I’m not a professional–I’m a student. I’m slowly learning processes and tips on how to become that public relations professional I aspire to. From some of the research I’ve done, I’ve concluded on three reasons for public relations professionals to blog.

1. Be aware of the conversation around you. In doing public relations work, it’s important to know what the public is thinking about you or your company. If the conversation about your organization is going downhill, you’ve got to run ahead of it and stop it.

In blogging, you’re able to monitor what others are saying about your or your business. Keep up with the ever-opinionated society and ask for their feedback on your blog. You can’t be successful if you don’t listen.

2. Get yourself out there! Join the conversation. In the field of public relations, you need to be proactive. A reactive professional is not going to succeed far in his or her career. By participating in the conversation of those around you, online, you’re able to stay on top the public opinion.

You want a large amount of readership for your blog. Go out and get it. The Internet is ideal for you to network yourself or your company to its maximum. Get yourself out there and interact with others in your industry.

3. Start writing and develop the conversation yourself. Everybody wants to hear positive feedback. We cringe at the thought of people “not liking us” or “what we represent.” That doesn’t mean, however, that we have to conform into something we’re not. Take control. Blogging, for public relations professionals, is an amazing opportunity to take the reins and start forming the conversation about the industry yourself.

Develop a blog that people are going to talk about. They might not agree with what you’re campaigning for, but people will start talking. Why? Because of you.

Journalistics is a blog that gives helpful insight to both worlds of public relations and journalism. They recently shared a blog post that laid out the “Best PR Blogs Out There.”

You might find a blog of interest, one that might inspire you to let your voice be heard around the world.

Five Social Media Tools You Should Know About

In public relations, if you want to be successful, you’re going to have to become familiar with social media. When you’re asked, ‘what is social media,’ your response will probably be limited to websites such as Twitter and Facebook. If this were a test, your answer wouldn’t be completely wrong–but it wouldn’t be completely correct either.

Some might argue that social media is a multi-dimensional means of communication, connecting one person to many. Others might say that ‘social media’ is a term that currently describes user-generated content but will soon become obsolete when the entire Internet becomes social. The point is that we don’t want to limit our definition of social media to a couple of social networking websites. There are hundreds of social media tools available to everybody that help define what social media is. Some of these tools are free, while others require monthly fees. Every tool can work to your advantage, however, if used properly.

I’ve done a little research and found information on five social media tools that I can’t wait to utilize as I grow in my career.

1. Socialoomph.com

The website does just as it states: it helps your social media productivity. This tool allows users to schedule tweets in advance that will appear on your Twitter account when you schedule it. You also are given the option to post recurring tweets or one-time posts.

There are two types of accounts that you can develop with socialoomph.com: the free or the professional. While the professional offers a few additional features, the free account will still help you get your job done.

 

 

2. Blackbird Pie

On May 5, 2010, Twitter released a new tool that helps enhance the use of your tweets (or the tweets of others). Blackbird Pie is a tool that allows you to easily embed tweets into websites or blog posts.

The methodology is simple:

– Copy the URL of the tweet that you want to embed.

– Go to Blackbird Pie and paste it into the white box on their site.

– Hit “bake it” to process the URL and you’ll be given an HTML code.

Here’s the catch: it only works well with WordPress.org users and is not too pretty with WordPress.com users.

 

3. Kwout

If you’re a WordPress.com user (like I am), and that second social media tool upset you, I apologize. For now, we can still use screenshots to embed tweets into our posts. Kwout.com is a very simple way to allow us to embed tweets for emphasis.

The steps are quite simple with Kwout–simply take the URL of the tweet you want to embed and paste it onto Kwout’s “demo” bar. After you hit the “kwout” button, it will guide you through how to edit the screenshot. The website will produce an HTML code that you can use to embed the image of the tweet into your blog.

 

Not only do embedded tweets make for a nice visual component to your blog post, they also can emphasize a certain point you’re trying to convey. Here’s a simple tweet I took from my Twitter account.

http://twitter.com/#!/carlos_m_perez/status/27946603308 

In previous posts, I mentioned that one way to truly be successful in public relations is to be aware of the conversation around you. With monitter.com, you’re able to do just that–in real time.
The concept is simple: watch three columns of live tweeting on three topics/words of your choice and see what people are saying about you or your brand.
When you first log onto the website, it can appear a bit overwhelming, I understand. Simply type in any words into the search bars above each of the three columns, sit back and watch as the tweets start to flow across your screen. There are many other real time Twitter monitors available, but I find this one to be the most resourceful (and entertaining as well).

 

This is one of the most user-friendly websites to make your own surveys. Polldaddy.com will allow you to create a free account and, within minutes, you can start developing your own poll. You can customize your poll in a multitude of ways: the background, the amount of answers, the type of responses you can get and the size of the survey itself.
Users need to simply log onto the website and follow the step-by-step instructions to create your own poll in minutes.

These five tools that I researched are only a tiny piece of the larger picture of social media. Don’t be intimidated or reluctant to try something new. The fact is: if you engage in social media, you’re more likely to succeed in the industry.