“Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” -Wikipedia
Social media has been a big factor in my life over the past 10 months; my first foray was really by chance. I’d heard of twitter and was used to the social networks of Facebook and Myspace. In fact at the time I remember still been a keen advocate for the now almost defunct Myspace, not only was I using for personal use. To connect with friends, but I was a keen to use to spread the word and media of my favorite bands and artists.
I think it was this first interest in passing on my own interests in music to friends online which triggered my interest in social media. Facebook was now firmly on the scene and I began to use this more and more through its groups and fan pages. We must not underestimate how big Facebook (& Twitter,) have grown for us all to be flocking to use them on a daily basis. Just look at how the Facebook ‘like’ button is now all over the web on nearly every website, blog, article and news story you can imagine.
It’s interesting how share buttons weren’t a new idea in being used across the web, in fact many sites already had them. With different degrees of visibility you could in fact find them, but I found that it was only select groups of people who actually would take them on board and use them extensively. Social media sharing and bookmarking buttons first took flight with the rise of Digg, Reddit, Stumleupon not to mention several hundred more!
More specifically in the design social bookmarking world we also see specialist sites for sharing design articles, showcases and roundups. When first writing online for a small personal blog I only really used Twitter as a promotional medium. It wasn’t until around three months later when writing for a friends small design blog that I found the use of the social and design bookmarking tools.
As a Designer Social Media has..
Allowed me to expand my network of friends and associates onto a world level; through sites such as LinkedIn, Behance and Coroflot, I have expanded my knowledge base and improved on a personal level. People I have found in the most part to be great to engage in constructive criticism and helping you improve if you ask for their help. Using a site such as Behance has allowed me to open up my portfolio of work to a wider audience of people, it allows anyone to check into Behance and view my work. I can further expand the number of people viewing this by linking this up across the social media web, this gives me an even bigger scale of people who maybe able to offer me advice, help or even help in future job opportunities.
As a Blogger/Writer Social Media has..
Being a blogger and writer for several sites across the web I have been able to increase my page views and hits on those sites and article tremendously. To promote my articles I often rely hugely on the goodwill of my followers on Facebook/twitter and other such sites for people to see my article and if they find it to be a positive well-written or inspiring article then they would pass it on. I don’t have the money to extensively go into advertising my site as much as I would like, so Social media when worked with can be just as good as advertising. With Social media you are almost working one on one with each other, you are engaging a large audience but you can make your social media experience as personal as possible.
This is something I would encourage you to re-think, don’t make your social media interaction feel like it isn’t personal. Try and make it work on a one-to-one level, if someone has taken the time to approach and comment on your site through social media. Why not thank them? Extend the conversation further and build up a relationship with your followers and friends. Only this way will you build up your social media contacts into more of a community of people who will be interested in the works and writing your site/blog is going to produce?
Be active in social media yourself; if you want people to maybe throw a vote on Reddit, Digg, Design Bump etc. Make sure you yourself are willing to do this also, there is nothing more infuriating to see emails in my inbox from people who are wanting me to vote and help there design articles. When you find they themselves are so self absorbed that they aren’t willing to take their own time out interact in social media themselves. I try to be as active as possible and often find myself submitting great articles to various social media outlets as I read great articles and showcases.
I can often be found not only to tweet an article I read that I found interesting but I will often thumb up the article on Stumbleupon, submit to Reddit, Digg, Delicious and many more.
As a Graduate Social Media has..
Being a graduate you need to grab every available outlet you can in order to get your first step on the working ladder. It is important that you don’t restrict the areas in which you are going to apply for work, especially in such a difficult economic climate in many areas of the world. Cast your net wide and the fruits of your labour will be rewarded.
I have used social media to connect and network with designers and creative’s the world over, my links to various people across the web has been a really positive experience. One great situation was when I was putting something as simple as my CV/resume together, through social media contacts I was able to put my resume out there and received a number of great responses offering me invaluable feedback. Maybe without my social media links I would not have had that kind of response, I could have gone into interviews or had application turned back as my resume was sufficient enough.
Gaining public opinion and advice is a great way to improve your chances as a graduate; I have been lucky enough to connect with all sorts of designers across the social media net. This has meant they have all been able to give me varying levels of experience and advice, which I feel, has really improved me over this summer. Social media through Twitter and Facebook has meant I have another point of contact for employers or in keeping in touch with past teachers and lecturers also.
But be wary that your keep as professional as possible on the social media sites, you do not want comments attributed to yourself to be found and means you are going to be blacklisted or ignored from future job opportunities. It is important you keep tabs on what information it is you are sharing and how that is going to reflect upon yourself.
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Jared Thompson I am a recently graduated product designer, who has a keen interest in writing about all things design on the web. I currently write for both Design Juices and Nenuno Creative. You can also find me on twitter @jthompsondesign
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