My #SocialMedia New Year’s Resolutions

In addition to the traditional resolutions of a personal nature, the turn of the year is also a time for examining professional goals — or at least it is if you are a federal employee and (at least in HHS) required to participate in the Performance Management Appraisal Program (PMAP).  As I think about the things I’d like to learn in order to improve my job performance, productivity, yada yada, this year I’ve come up with this list of social media-related New Year’s resolutions.

1. Choose and commit to using a proper RSS reader

I use twitter, almost more than any other source, to get my information, and often come across tweets about useful blog posts regarding social media, public relations, and/or health news.  If the blog seems particularly interesting, I will bookmark it in my browser, but to be honest, I NEVER go back to those bookmarks.  I use google desktop, which has a “web clips” feature that pulls RSS feeds, someone randomly it seems sometimes, into the side bar, but it isn’t at all organized and it’s easy to miss things.  I’ve decided I really need to find a RSS reader and use it to organize all these great information sources that I come across and subsequently forget about.  I’m thinking I’ll use Google Reader, but let me know if you have a better one.

2. Conquer my fear of social bookmarks

StumbleUpon, Reddit, Digg and the other social bookmarking communities are completely foreign to me.  They all have these intricate subcultures (David Harris said being popular on Digg was like being in a gang), and I find the whole thing overwhelming.  When they first started popping up, I was certain that they were a trend that would quickly fall away, so I didn’t bother learning much about them.  Well, clearly they are here to stay, so I feel that I must learn more about them — if for no other reason than to figure out how to use them to disseminate information/articles for my employer.

3. Become more active on LinkedIn

I know people who LOVE the site, but for me it still seems pretty useless.  I feel like it has potential, but I haven’t had the time (or desire) to truly explore it, other than finding people I know and posting my résumé.  I’ve joined a bunch of groups (probably too many), but I never actually read the postings.  This year, I need to explore the usefulness of that platform.  For now it just seems like Facebook, but way less fun.

4. Continue to share with and learn from others

Okay, maybe this one is cheating, but I always like to include a resolution that I know I can meet because I’ve already been doing it.  It makes the list seem more surmountable. In this case, I want to continue to seek out people who are doing exciting things in this area and learn from them.  At the same time I hope, through this blog, twitter, and the various other channels, that I can continue to be a resource to others who are learning along the way.  That is, after all, kind of the point of social media, isn’t it?

Happy New Year and Best wishes!

-Brooke

The emergence of social media

This morning I gave a presentation to members of the Ovarian Cancer of National Alliance about utilization of traditional and social media to advance the mission of their organizations.  It doing my research for the presentation I came across the results of a survey of journalists by TopRank Online Marketing that had some surprising results.

Age Distribution of Facebook UsersFor one, 64 percent of journalists used Google or Yahoo! to search for news.  Not Lexis/Nexis, but Google. And, while standard Google/Yahoo! searches were the most common, 27 percent of journalists had conducted what they were calling social searches.  Of the social tools used, 64 percent used social networks, 55 percent used blogs, 50 percent used wikis and 35 percent used micro-blogging sites like twitter and facebook.  So you know what this means folks — Facebook isn’t just for teenage girls anymore!

In fact, the average age of a Facebook user is 26, according to another report by iStrategyLabs.  Of the 200 million active users, the 35-54 age group is the fastest growing.  Of course only about 30 percent of the users are considered “active,” but that’s still a huge number, and growing everyday.

twitteruserchartAnd what about the microblogging?  Well twitter’s audience is even older — 31 is the average according to Social Media Today.  The users are 53 percent female, and 35 percent live in urban areas.  Twitter use is also growing rapidly, with 12.9 million new users per month.

With only 140 characters to work with, you wouldn’t think you’d be able to accomplish much on twitter, but I’ve actually met quite a few science writers and public relations people on twitter.  It’s become a great tool for professional networking, which is really surprising for a site who’s sole purpose is to allow you to answer the question “What are you doing?”