The definition of social media is evolving. The Wikipedia version is constantly under discussion and is dynamic, changing as fast as the various components of social media change. To get to the bare bones, however, we can say that social medial consists of internet-based applications accessible to a variety of content producers and a wide audience of consumers/readers. You, as producer or consumer, can participate in social media and social networking in a variety of ways (blogger, Wikipedia contributor, photo sharing exhibitor, podcast producer, internet forum contributor/reader, corporate marketer, and so on).
Finding resource materials on the use of social media seems easy when you take a look at booklists. I’ve consulted:
Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day by Dave Evans (Wiley Publishing, Indianapolis, Indiana, 2008)
Blogging for Dummies by Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley (Wiley Publishing, Indianapolis, Indiana, 2008)
The Twitter Book by Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein (O’Reilly Media, Inc., Sebastopol, CA, 2009)
A search on “social media” at one of the online bookstores will return a long list of recently published books on these topics and more. Buying a book to learn the basics is fine, but be aware that books go out-of-date quickly as the sites they cover add new features, redesign old ones, and install new profile and security features. There are up-to-date internet articles that can help you learn as you go. I watch these blogs for articles of interest:
Mashable: The Social Media Guide
Mashable has guidebooks on Twitter and Facebook
Inspired Mag has a list of 10 Essential Social Media Blogs
Here’s a list of 200 Social Media Blogs from NOOP.NL
There’s the Facebook blog
And the unofficial Facebook blog
The Twitter blog
And Twitip: Getting More Out of Twitter
Reading books for the basics is fine. There will be a steady flow of new titles, many of which will be added to your local library. But it makes sense that the most current support for your social media questions is online. Try the sites listed above, or conduct your own search on a variety of topics. To work on this blog post, I searched on “social media,” “social media marketing,” “social media blogs,” “Twitter blogs,” and “Facebook blogs.”
Patricia Stoltey is a mystery author, blogger, and critique group facilitator. Active in promoting Colorado authors, she also helps local unpublished writers learn the critical skills of manuscript revision and self-editing. For information about Patricia’s Sylvia and Willie mystery series, visit her website and her blog. You can also find her on Facebook (Patricia Stoltey) and Twitter (@PStoltey).