When I ask people, “What does social media mean to you?” They usually say, “Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.”
Of course, there’s much more to social media. There are literally hundreds of social media sites and more are springing up every day. Many of these sites are targeted to reach and benefit very specific audiences, whether by demographic, geographic or even a hobby or area of interest. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Kirtsy: “The women’s social media site,” Kirtsy was developed specifically for women as a place where users can find and/or link to anything and everything on the web that they want to share. The more clicks on a submission, the more likely the link will make it to the Popular section on the left-hand side of the front page. The right-hand side of the page shows the Editors’ Picks links. Links on the front page are seen by everybody and get lots of love. The front-page content is ever changing. You can also search by topic. Kirtsy has 10 million-plus active users.
Fark: Targets news junkies who see the humor in everything, and allows users to comment on a daily batch of news articles and other items from various web sites. The site is frequently used as a humorous source for news by major media outlets such as CNN and Fox News, as well as late-night comedy shows and radio stations. Links are submitted by Fark members (collectively referred to as Farkers), which moderators can approve (greenlight) for posting on either the main page or one of the subsidiary tab pages. All links, whether approved or not, have associated threads where users can comment on the link. Greenlighted links can generate upwards of 300,000 page views in one month for the recipient. The site receives approximately 2,000 story submissions per day from users, and about 50 of them are displayed on the main page of the site, or greenlighted. Subscribers to the TotalFark service are able to view all 2,000 submissions per day for a $5 per month fee. As of June 2009, the site received approximately 4 million unique visitors per month.
Reddit: A Twitter-style web site, Reddit is for those who want to drive web traffic or share online information by enabling users to post links to content on the Internet. Other users may then vote the posted links up or down, causing them to become more or less prominent on the Reddit home page. The site has discussion areas in which users may discuss the posted links and vote for or against others’ comments. When there are enough votes against a given comment, it will not be displayed by default. Users who submit articles that other users like and subsequently “vote up” receive “karma points” as a reward for submitting articles other users consider interesting. Karma is like a reputation badge you can flaunt to confirm your importance and level of involvement in the Reddit community.
Reddit also includes topical sections called subreddits (there are hundreds), which focus on specific topics such as politics, programming, “not safe for work,” or science. The number of registered users is not published, but a Reddit representative told us that the site has tens of thousands of users every day.
LinkedIn: The Facebook of the professional community, developed for business networking, the site’s purpose is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details for people they know and trust in business. The people in the list are called Connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. Users build up a contact network consisting of a user’s direct connections, the connections of each of their connections (termed second-degree connections) and also the connections of second-degree connections (termed third-degree connections).
Connections are used to gain an introduction to someone you wish to know through a mutual, trusted contact. You can use your LinkedIn network to find jobs, people and business opportunities recommended by someone in your contact network.
Employers can list jobs and search for potential candidates and job seekers can review the profile of hiring managers and discover which of their existing contacts can introduce them. The
“gated-access approach” (where contact with any professional requires either a preexisting relationship or the intervention of a contact of theirs) is intended to build trust among the service’s users. As of May 2009, it had more than 40 million registered users, spanning 170 industries.
LinkedIn is growing rapidly and has added many new features. While users’ profiles are usually not public until you’ve made the connection, a premium service allows you to see these profiles for a
monthly fee. If you aren’t already taking advantage of LinkedIn, we strongly recommend becoming involved in this influential B2B social network.
Obviously, these four a just the tip of the social media iceberg: there are far too many sites to cover in one blog post. So stay tuned, and we’ll tell you more in our next article.