By now, just about everyone is at least aware of social media. Whether one participates in it, likes it or dislikes it, favors certain venues over others, social media has become part of our everyday culture and part of our technology in its brief 30 year history. It is also inarguably here to stay and will continue to morph into more and more amazing forms.
For those less knowledgeable about the most popular social media venues, the differences between them may seem to blur and have little distinction, if any. Therefore, it is the purpose of this post to clarify some of the distinctions for the technically challenged (which is most of us over a certain age).
Alexa.com is a website that was founded in 1996 and is now owned by Amazon.com. It rates the frequency of visits to 5 million sites on the Internet. Although reports indicate that Alexa’s ranking results are biased, it is still a technically accepted system by much of the social media world. Let’s look at a few of the most popular and top rated Alexa rated sites.
Google is ranked #1 by Alexa.com. It is the ‘big engine’ that could. It has gone from being the master program for global (URL universe) SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION, commonly known as SEO to its brainchild, LOCAL BUSINESS SEO with Google Places and Google Maps. It has also created Google + which includes Google Circles, a connecting venue based on many types of groups of possible connections and interests between members.
From my perspective, Google has two major challenges at this time:
• Staying #1, as #2 Facebook continually seeks ways to come up with new features to overtake #1. It is reminiscent of Avis when it ‘tried harder’ as #2 in car rentals ranked behind #1 competitor, Hertz.
• Their second major job is to continually change the algorithms for top ranking so that companies do not have a permanent grip on the secret formula to Google’s SEO based rankings.
Google, King of Social Media
To me, Google is King, the royalty of social media. The word has even become a verb. If you need to know something, just Google it!
Ranked # 02 on Alexa.com is Facebook. It is probably the most popular interactive means of socializing with family, friends and acquaintances. Someone who was alive when a certain outmoded technology existed, told me that Facebook reminded her of telephone party lines. It is a sharing experience, not so much a private means of communication although it can be using the message mode.
It qualifies as the 21st century’s #1 grape vine for news and gossip. For the purposes of this article, the fan page business feature or what is now referred to, as the LIKE page will not be discussed here. The Perfect Tools for Your Facebook Marketing Campaign was just published yesterday on the DBME blog by a fellow contributing writer, Joy Lynskey.
“Founded in February 2004, Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers. The company develops technologies that facilitate the sharing of information through the social graph, the digital mapping of people’s real-world social connections. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment.”***
Ranked # 03 on Alexa.com, YouTube’s popularity clearly indicates how people love to watch and make videos. It is also often suggested that when you need to know something, do a search on YouTube.com to find out.
YouTube is like the best of the old time Saturday movie theater experience that allowed folks to be entertained for a nickel for hours viewed on the giant silver screen. YouTube is without the live music that sometimes emanated from a gargantuan organ, but as a compensation is available 24/7 from the comfort of your own private entertainment environment using your desktop computer, laptop, hand held device, etc.
Before we jump to twitter, ranked # 9 on Alexa.com, I would like to simply quote the information from Alexa.com about the sites that are ranked numbers 4-8. They include:
“#4 Yahoo! yahoo.com
A major Internet portal and service provider-offering search results, customizable content, chats . . . free e-mail, clubs, and pager.”
“#5 Baidu.com, baidu.com
The leading Chinese language search engine, provides ‘simple and reliable”’ search exp. More experience, strong in Chinese language and multi-media content including MP3 music and movies, the first to offer WAP and PDA-based mobile search in China.”
“#6 Blogger.com, blogspot.com
Free, automated weblog publishing tool that sends updates to a site via FTP.”
“#7 Wikipedia, wikipedia.org
A free encyclopedia built collaboratively using wiki software.”
“#8 Windows Live, live.com
Search engine from Microsoft.”
The twitter website itself states it purpose best as an information network, “Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations.”****
Twitter’s function and activities, called tweets, have become headline news of late between being part of Presidential town halls, communication lifelines during emergencies and the modern day equivalent of the telegraph, succinct, precise and immediate.
According to Internet guru, John Perry Barlow, the telegraph was the first step towards globalization of communication and set the precedent for social media as well as our entire world wide web communication system.
Although it is ranked # 13 on Alexa.com, LinkedIn is another top rated, indispensable site. For consistency’s sake, here are the sites in between Twitter and LinkedIn quoted from Alexa.com:
“#10 QQ.COM, qq.com
China’s largest and most used Internet service portal owned by Tencent, Inc founded in November 1998.”
“#11 MSN, msn.com
Portal for shopping, news and money, e-mail, search, and chat.”
#12 Yahoo! Japan
This is the Japanese version of Yahoo.
The fascinating thing about LinkedIn is that as somewhat of a dark horse, it is gaining speed as an excellent business networking tool. Colleagues with similar interests and background can connect. Professionals can seek jobs and promote their pedigrees. Employers can research for prospects. It has become the world’s largest professional network.
There are endless numbers of networking groups specifically tailored to industries and topics in those industries. Here is some company background about LinkedIn, founded in 2002. In my opinion, LinkedIn is the one to watch. It is a real up and comer as a business marketing tool.
In conclusion, new social media venues continue to be invented on a daily basis. They do not all make it into the big time. But every once in a while, as its very brief history has shown, someone creates a winner. In addition, top ones which may have been highly ranked a few years ago are no longer front runners but may have found a niche audience like MySpace has in the arts.
I am not a betting person, and this Blog post is meant to be a casual glimpse at Social Media. I consider my job done. Now it is up to my readers to decide for themselves what they think about the present line up and what the future holds. Let me know what you think. For an extra ‘treat’ click here to view an amazing infographic of the history of social media.
About Alison Gilbert
Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.