Chris Brogan: Getting Started with Social Media

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April 26, 2008

passport Getting started in social media might feel daunting. In considering what would constitute a “passport” for a would-be “web native,” I found myself adding more and more services to the list of things one might consider adding to their collection of applications and services to use.

Start at your own pace, and go as slowly as you need to for you to feel comfortable getting to understand all these services, but here is a list of applications and networks that I think you might consider joining and developing into your online reputation and presence platform:
The Basics

* Take a reasonably decent photo of yourself for an avatar pic. Size it to 100×100 pixels if you can. (most services want this as a default). If you’re shy off the bat, put something more fun than your corporate logo.
* Twitter - Be sure to add your nifty new photo. Then, if you don’t already have friends on Twitter, check the public timeline to see who’s doing something interesting, or check out Twitter Packs for some starting people to follow.
* Account - Even if you eventually choose another blogging platform, building a presence means that you get an OpenID account, a place to build a profile for lots of the popular blogging platforms (I recommend getting a Blogger/Google account for that reason, too), and also a potential “scratch blog” for putting up ideas that might not fit your larger presence.
* Facebook profile - There are millions of people using Facebook (and even more on MySpace). It’s a good place to build an account that tells people more about yourself, and as an outpost for your blog (add your RSS feed to Facebook through one of many 3rd party apps that will re-post it there), which all goes towards establishing your reputation online.
* YouTube account - YouTube serves millions of videos a month. It’s a great place to comment, to submit your own stuff to a larger audience, and/or to find points of interest. If you want more serious, better considered video hosting, try Blip.TV.
* Gmail account - which will give you access to, but also Google Reader, Google Calendar, Google Talk, and plenty other useful services. I use Google Reader as my preferred news reader, and I use Google Calendar for ease of use of scheduling.
* UPDATE Google Reader for listening. Recommended by David Usher

  1. UPDATE LinkedIn for professional profile. Recommended by Susan Beebe.

Bonus Round

If you’re feeling like you want to participate even more, you’ll need these:

* UPDATE FriendFeed is a way to aggregate your presence and that of your friends online. Suggested by Ontario Emperor
* Digg and StumbleUpon and accounts - Use social bookmarking communities to share things you like, to find things you’re interested in, and to grow a social view of news and information.
* for events to attend in this space.
* Flickr account - (which is technically now a Yahoo! account, as is This is for photo sharing, and gives you an easy place to put your pictures on the web.
* Skitch account - for screen captures, should you want to post a picture off your computer screen simply.
* PayPal account - for easy financial transactions used by many websites.
* UPDATE Plaxo for contact management. - Recommended by Susan Beebe.

Your Thoughts

There are certainly dozens more applications to consider, and this doesn’t count one’s primary blog, podcast, video property or otherwise. But I’m wondering if I’ve missed any “fundamental” sites that you’d recommend we add to this list, or if there are any that should come off. What’s your take?

The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.

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Photo credit, hji

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