Over the last year, I have had to explain how social media works to diplomats, defense officials, and academics and students focused on fields as diverse as international affairs, management and sociology. I have found that first-timer find social media confusing because of two reasons. The first reason is the excessive focus on specific social media tools. Many first-timers are introduced to social media via specific tools. Many ’social media experts’ who are practitioners rather than thinkers also focus on specific tools. Since social media encompasses many different types of tools, and each tool has specific characteristics and a steep learning curve, a toolkit approach can quickly become overwhelming. Blogging (Wordpress), microblogging (Twitter), video-sharing (YouTube), photo-sharing (Flickr), podcasting (Blog Talk Radio), mapping (Google Maps), social networking (Facebook), social voting (Digg), social bookmarking (Delicious), lifestreaming (Friendfeed), wikis (Wikipedia), and virtual worlds (Second Life) are all quite different from each other and new and hybrid tools are being introduced almost everyday. Mastering each tool individually seems like a lot of work and a lot of people give up even before they begin. The second reason is a clear definition of what social media is, even within the social media community. Different thinkers and practitioners use different terms to describe similar tools and practices.
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This is the official blog of Ralph Kerle, Chairman, the Creative Leadership Forum. The views expressed are his own and do not represent the views of the International or National Advisory Board members. Tweet ______________________________________________________________________________________