A Social Bookmarking Primer

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Social media is the Internet’s version of viral messaging and marketing. Social media can be used to disseminate news or information, as well as to attract attention. There are a wide variety of social media channels and networks available.

Social networks and social media websites are community-driven websites that allow visitors to submit items of interest. Visitors also decide what items appeal to them by voting or tagging; the more popular an item is determined to be by the visitors, the more exposure the item is given.

However, in some networks not all visitors are created equal — the vote of some members may carry more weight than others, and the votes of a well-established visitor may be given more value. Likewise, the vote of a member who has historically selected or submitted stories that were repeatedly determined popular may be given more value than the vote of someone new to the website. These established visitors may also be given some sort of “power-user” status that allows them to have a stronger influence over which items are determined to be popular.

Some social websites are topical or themed, while others have a broader and more general appeal. In many social networks, the popularity of the item is determined through a democratic process, and the more popular the collective voice deems an item to be, the more prominence that item will receive in the listings on the social website.

In order to effectively use social networks, you must establish an identity and a reputation. As a social networker, it is important that you understand the dynamics of the social website before you begin participating. Take the time to observe the network before you begin posting. Once you have a basic understanding of the website’s culture, it is safe to begin participating. Regular participation will give you insight into how a social network functions and what kinds of things the collective voice desires…Or equally important, what it dislikes.

Here are some final tips for social media success…

1. Learn who the more influential people are on the social website.

2. Becoming an influential member of the network can be time-consuming and difficult, but it will make it much easier to gain attention for important items once established.

3. Try not to spread yourself too thin by attempting to be everything to everyone on all social networks. Find a niche and a network which you have knowledge and experience, and then focus on becoming established within that network.

4. Develop a network of individuals that share a common theme or interest.

5. When posting new items, pay particular attention to the Title you use. The title is like a headline, and it should “grab” attention without misleading anyone or being too vague.

6. It is often helpful to evangelize and promote the social network itself.

Use the above information to become more successful in your social networking activities.

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