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Discovery vs. Connect - Social Media habits

From flickr by webtreats
My first foray into Social Media was by starting this blog way back in 2004, a time when many of celebrated bloggers of India (such as Siddin Vadukut) also started blogging. Having been the editor of my school magazine and a geek during my engineering, Blogging came naturally to me as a mix of writing and technology. My exposure to Social Media has only grown since then, Orkut – later Facebook, Twitter and even Foursquare are my regular haunts now.

Having been an early adopter myself, I often wonder that today when most people in my generation use Facebook (and Twitter), what sets early adopters apart. Upon pondering I discovered that for most regular users of Social Media, it’s a way to stay in touch with people whom they know in real life but do not get a chance to meet - cousins, present and past colleagues, schoolmates, batchmates from grad school etc. However, those who are early adopters live in two separate worlds. They in addition to ‘real life’ friends, have a circle of contacts among other early adopters on these social platforms. Several of these people never meet face-to-face or have met once at Social Media events like Blogcamps.

Another aspect which sets early adopters apart is their usage of Social Media presence. Most early adopters maintain their online identities on a regular basis integrate their Social Media accounts such as linking their Twitter feed to Facebook and their blog or publishing their Fourquare statuses on Twitter.

Now, all the above might sounds very cryptic to those who use Social Media sparingly or only for ‘keeping in touch’ but it contains important lessons to those aspiring to improve their Social media presence. Following are some pointers:

  1. Social Media gives you an opportunity to expand your sphere of influence beyond your professional and personal contacts 
  2. Social Media is a great source to enrich and educate yourself 
  3. Social media can help connect with experts in the fields of interest such as Hobbies 
  4. Social Media is a great tool to explore the unknown e.g. a new city you are planning to relocate to or tour 
  5. Social Media helps you discover aspects of your life which you may never discover in real life e.g. writer / columnist, amateur videographer, punster etc.
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