Whether you're a big fan or a 'rabbit in the headlights' when it comes to social media, the phenomenon is here to stay and developing apace.

For freelances, it can be a productive and cost-effective way of marketing yourself - especially as many of your target audience will be using this form of communication. This means it's worth trying to get your head around the possibilities and keep up with the changes.

So, what about an overview as a starter for ten?

There are varied types of social media and it's become an umbrella term for a wide variety of online platforms and ways of communicating.

Wikipedia’s entry on Social Media is helpful here as it cites Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein, who created a classification scheme for social media types in their article, Business Horizons (2010). The grouping of the different forms into types is particularly useful in thinking about social media platforms.

According to Kaplan and Haenlein there are six different types of social media:

  • collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia)
  • blogs and microblogs (e.g. Twitter)
  • content communities (e.g. Youtube)
  • social networking sites (e.g. Facebook)
  • virtual game worlds (e.g. World of Warcraft)
  • virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life).

Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few.

The following clip gets a little deeper into the idea.

If you are reading this and would like to comment, please let us know which types of social media you're using and which ones you would like to learn more about so that you can use them for your business? If we get feedback we can look at scheduling Lunchtime and Twilight training sessions.

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