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Information Technology Services

Social Media: Beyond Facebook and Twitter

03/12/12

When you hear, “social media”, Twitter and Facebook are likely the first things that come to mind. These days, it is rare to see an advertisement that does not request “likes” on Facebook or “follows” on Twitter.  Yet, the social media industry is rapidly expanding beyond the world of Facebook and the Twitter. 

Here are just a few other social media sites that you may or may not have heard of.

Pinterest allows the user to “pin” interesting photos, videos, and web pages into theme-based collections.  It has become especially popular with women.To use Pinterest, users must be invited by a friend already on Pinterest or request an invitation directly from the Pinterest website. 

StumbleUpon allows the user to easily find popular or interesting webpages.  Users mark the categories that they are interested in and then hit the Stumble button.  Every time the user hits this button, they are redirected to a new page that has been highly rated by other StumbleUpon users. 

LinkedIn has become the leading social network for business professionals.  Instead of sharing personal hobbies and interests, as is the case on Facebook, LinkedIn allows users to create professional online profiles.  The site is great for networking, as it displays connections to different companies.  For example, if you discover a job opening at HP, LinkedIn will show you a list of your connections that work at HP.  This can be invaluable in scoring that new job.

Tumblr is a combination of a blogging platform and a social networking site.  Tumblr allows users to post short blog content and share that content with their friends.  Unlike most blogging websites, Tumblr is built to be social.  Like most social networking sites, Tumblr has a dashboard where users can easily follow content posted by their friends. 

Reddit is a social news website where registered users submit links or “self” posts.  Other users can then vote the submission up or down, which is used to rank the post.  Posts are arranged using these rankings, and users have the option of sorting posts by category as well.

Prizes.org is a website where users can create and enter simple contests to win prizes.  For example, an entrepreneur can create a contest for $150 to design a logo for their new brand.  Users of prizes.org can then enter the contest by submitting logo designs.  Other categories include business ideas or names, parenting advice, travel itineraries, and health and fitness.a website where users can create and enter simple contests to win prizes.  For example, an entrepreneur can create a contest for $150 to design a logo for their new brand.  Users of prizes.org can then enter the contest by submitting logo designs.  Other categories include business ideas or names, parenting advice, travel itineraries, and health & fitness.

Google+ is Google’s most recent attempt to break into the social media scene.  The service was the first to allow users to place friends into “circles” like friends, family, work, ect.  This makes it possible to share information with particular groups.  The service also boasts a group video chat feature called Hangout, which is an extremely powerful (and free) tool for web conferencing. 

These are just a few of the many social media sites that have emerged in the last few years.  Though some might say that they already spend too much time on Facebook and Twitter, each social media site has unique features that make sharing information with your friends and family both fun and efficient. 

As always, BC encourages you to be safe and use common sense when using social media (or any other) websites. Here are some tips published by the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team, part of the Department of Homeland Security.