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Mediators Puzzle Over Social Media

Social Media- you mean when reporters go for drinks?

Honestly, who doesn’t get a little befuddled understanding what social networking is and what it’s good for. Facebook, Twitter and the array of social bookmarking sites (Digg, Stumbleupon, Kirsty, Fark) all essentially do the same thing. They connect people of like mind or interest. It’s the unique path each puts takes to reach the gal that makes most of them worth exploring a little bit.

For that reason, and the fact I’m pretty skeptical yet curious about this new way of being, I’m writing a series of overviews of Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn . The pile of information and opinions is getting deep, so I’ll do my best to steer you towards resources and thought leaders who offer practical, proven advice.

Just so you know, I’ve been experimenting with all three. Facebook and LinkedIn are primarily my mediation business profiles which allow me to network with mediators across the nation and the world. I’ll admit I haven’t taken either for much of a spin, although I have tried using Facebook’s event feature. I can see that being very handy. By the way, of the two, LinkedIn is much more business-like than Facebook first appears. It’s a good place to start if you want a certain level of familiarity.

I’m on Twitter, too. I tweet for my marriage blog there because the audience is so much wider and mainstream. You can follow me at www.twitter.com/CuriousDina It’s amazing to me how much thinking can go into talking in only 140 characters (or not…)

What’s the up side of it?

The jury is still out for me on these types of networking. Initially, I thought Facebook was for teenagers and Twitter was for…well, twits, with nothing better to do than announce their existence. Then I was struck by what a ginormous time sink corresponding via those tools could be. I’m was convinced that people with thousands of tweet updates have been brainwashed until I dug deeper into the strategic uses of social networking.

Now, I’m curious again. People are accomplishing amazing things through their networks and exposure. Anyone can make their own ‘15 minutes of fame’ if they know how to capture the attention and favor of that massive audience. I offer you Peter Shankman as living proof. Peter parlayed his Facebook group into thousands of subscribers (well over 25K now) and robust sponsorship for www.helpareporterout.com, a site that connects reporters with sources.

(Hint: get on the list and watch for stories in your niche where you can offer a unique perspective.)

Learning more: Social Media in Plain English

To get us off to a good start, here’s a video by Commoncraft that explains it all.

If the video is broken, you can also see the video at http://www.commoncraft.com/socialmedia The video is a little basic but it does explain the way social media works. My question to you:

What flavor will you make?

                        author

Dina Beach Lynch

Dina Beach Lynch is a Workplace Mediator and Conflict Coach who supports professional practice groups. MORE >

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