So is it useful or not? (2010)

Whenever I sign up for a new social media site and play around with it for 5 minutes, I always try to determine how useful it is.

Some social media sites are useful, some are a waste of time, and some of them are somewhere in between.

So during a discussion today, the question was raised as to whether it is better to jump in early or wait for the best of the sites to rise above the rest.

Personally, I like jumping in early on social media sites and technology in general as an “early adopter.”

Sometimes you start something that is not very practical like the cigarette umbrella in the photo, but sometimes you get something really useful.

One of the advantages of being an early adopter is that it allows you to more or less write the rules of the platform ahead of everyone else.

Sometimes I’m just not sure about certain social media sites which is why I say they can be somewhere in the middle. This is where I am right now with Blip.fm and more recently Foursquare.

I’m not sure if there is value in sending out music tracks with Blip.fm or checking in at a current location to get points with Foursquare, but I still periodically use them.

This does several things:

1) Keeps me informed about what is out there. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to the rapidly changing information environment

2) Allows me to try out sites on a personal basis when I don’t want to test them out with an official Army account.

3) Gives me a larger palette of options to choose from and a wide knowledge base when implementing communication plans.

Over time, the platforms that are useful I keep and the ones that are of no use just go away, but at least I know their capabilities and limitations.

You may not want to jump into every site with your official work account, but creating a generic Gmail account and user name for testing out a wide range of websites can be professionally rewarding.

Photo taken from Life.com’s 30 Dumb Inventions

Mike Nicholson

I've spent my career working in a variety of Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Information Operations, and Executive Outreach positions. With a history of planning, preparing, executing, and assessing communication strategies in the U.S. and abroad, I use this site to write, think and share lessons learned on organizational communications.

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