I love social media, which is a good thing if I want to move my PR career forward. I devote time to studying trends, following blogs, and finding new ways to work Social to my (and my employers’) advantage.
And my friends think I’m kind of a freak for it.
If you’re as into the Social scene as I am, I’m sure you understand. All the time, I’m berated by friends because they don’t get why I think Twitter and Foursquare are so important.
I think I’ve finally come up with a way to explain it to them. I’m going to go through the common rebuttals people come up with when I tell them about Social, and they key ideas to convey to those nay-sayers to win them over to the Social side.
The Plaintiff’s Argument
“Why do you need to update every day? People don’t need to know what you’re thinking 24/7.”
They key phrase here is what you’re thinking. Each Social outlet focuses on a crucial question, so keep that phrase in mind.
“What? People don’t need to know what I’m doing every second, do they? ‘Hey guys, I’m going to the bathroom!’”
Here, it’s what I’m doing.
“Creepy! Why in the world would you want people to know where you are, wherever you go?”
Can you guess? Where you are.
So now we’ve got three key phrases, three answers to e fundamental W questions.
What you’re thinking, what you’re doing, and where you are.
Each social media outlet focuses on one of these questions, or others.
What are you thinking?
Facebook’s status entry box asks this question every time you see your home page. What is the focus of that question?
It’s you. Facebook is a social sphere that focuses on you. It’s people driven. When you go on Facebook, the main page structure allows you to see people, and to explore things about them. You see what they like, who they hang out with, and what motivates them based on their thoughts.
Twitter and Foursquare are formatted differently.
With Foursquare, many people assume that I’m just telling everyone where I am. My house, the gas station, the bathroom. While I haven’t made my bathroom a “place” on Foursquare quite yet, I do try to check in fairly often, but it’s not necessarily in the interest of just broadcasting my location to the world.
Foursquare’s focus is location. It answers the “Where are you?” question, and instead of centering on people, it highlights places. Yes, you still have a profile, but the purpose isn’t to go to a friend’s profile and find out about them. You go to places’ pages and see how popular they are, look at the tips left, find out if anyone you know has been there. If you visit a friend’s profile, you’re going to look at what kinds of places they go or like. You can search for places based on how they’re connected to your network. It uses places to connect you with others.
Twitter is, you guessed it, “what” focused. My dad (who I just coerced into creating a Twitter profile. He follows four people) thinks it it the most ridiculous thing in the world. He doesn’t understand why I would want to advertise what I’m thinking or doing at all times.
The thing is, this morning, I could be thinking about finding out more about my favorite contestant on Fox’s Masterchef, Jonny Blanchard. Now, of course I follow Jonny on Twitter, but he doesn’t toot his own horn that often. If I want to find out more, I need to search content related to him. Twitter is the best place for me to do that. I can search all tweets Jonny has been tagged in, all tweets mentioning Jonny by name, or I can search hashtags relating to Jonny, such as #masterchef.
Twitter allows me to follow people who I think create great content. I can follow places, things, or people, because unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t default to a “person” profile when you sign up.I can search content easier through hashtags, or I can search words in general, although the search isn’t as precise. I can use my network of followers and followees to find content I care about, and to connect to people who care about the same content.
I’m constantly on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. I spent an inordinate amount of time working with social media. But as you can see, it’s worth it.