Four years ago I was tasked by our COO to a do a project a little bit different from my normal day to day job as Director of hosting and Managed Services, and that was to learn more about social media and how we might make it a service offering. I was very sceptical, as I saw no real purpose in it, but since then I have found even though I see no direct ROI reasoning for all companies to jump into it with both I see many many similarities to a new revolution in the mid 90s called the internet and "why would i want a website" that I think social media is poised to become the next great world changing technology, i seem to be very good at it, and I am highly motivated to moving into it if the right opportunity arises.
My main strategic interest in social media is that everyone is asking the same questions about social media they were when the internet arose from nowhere in 1994. That would be this question "Why would anyone pay any money for something that is free?" I spent my next twenty years making a good living on believing I knew the answer to that question. Similarly, I believe social media in 2014 is asking everyone that same question, and why i would like to find the same opportunity to find the right company to answer that same question for them as well..
A brief summary of my job experience took me from building web and email servers under my desk in 1994, just to show that this technology worked. To taking this same concept to The Weather Channel and working in the Next Generation group where we worked on content distribution (weather forecasts for 6000 cities) and distributed them to every platform we could think of . In short we would take the content displayed on TV and the website, weather.com and send it to things like weather to fax, weather to email, weather to a JPG (which could be easily put on a website) to really neat things like Web TV, and working with Palm to help them to release weather content on their first wireless device called the Palm VII way before anyone had data enable web phones. Even though the whole concept of putting Your on your computer, and webpages on your TV never really allowed the WebTV idea to happen, to this day you still see the little computer animations on the bottom of your TV advertising other shows. The concept of that all came with these early days, and ideas that came from it.. As for Palm VI and earliest wireless devices, that was pretty interesting as well as we had to develop by plugging modems into the bottom of our phones to do development, because the wireless data technology was not quite there yet.
As for social media, I have been finding reasons to use all of them, I seem to be very successful at accumulating very large communities, and believe over the next 10+ years we are going to see that technology exponentially grow in a way the internet did in the mid-90s and I have a strong desire to be a leader in this field if I can find a niche and or a group that believes in it like i do. Here is a brief summary of my education and evolution in social media.
BLOG - I started with a blog, and following headline stories in the news and current world news in 2011 war the war in egypt, and the first thing that interested me was the news about the war on TV was different that the news was on Twitter. Not to say the news was wrong, but it became quickly obvious that the news we see on TV was selective. so blogging about the war in Egypt, then Libya, the Syria was interesting because I got to see a different side of the story I would not normally see. since then the blog has just become a repository for all my other social media feeds, but it was a start, and I managed to get 5.2M visits to my site, which I was pretty proud of for just being a hobby http://egyptday1.blogspot.com/
TWITTER - At the time twitter seemed to be the greatest social media outlet out there, so I tried to find a use for it. I found two uses, first it was a great place to find out what people think. If it's an earthquake, you can hear from people in the earthquake real time, or as above, I was following a war, I found it a great place to find opinions about that war, right or wrong, twitter provided with me with opinions, and information I could blog, and revisit later to see what was true and what was not true. I also found Twitter be a very valuable to tool to retweet to and send out links to my blog stories, so twitter became my number one form of information retrieval and information distribution (which drove people to my blog) I currently have 14000 followers, using twitter https://twitter.com/perfectsliders
FACEBOOK - Probably the easiest place to gain a footprint because people are so friendly, great place to hook up with old friends that you would have never found again without it. Being a social person, and having met a lot of people in my life, it was fairly easy to gain 3500+ followers by just saying hello and sharing a few pretty pictures to get people talking. It is my favorite place to just hang out, and probably is the main reason I have a significant Klout score of 69 https://www.facebook.com/robbyba
KLOUT - The Klout Score is a number between 1-100 that represents your influence. The more influential you are, the higher your Klout Score.
Influence is the ability to drive action. When you share something on social media or in real life and people respond, that’s influence. The more influential you are, the higher your Klout Score.
GOOGLE PLUS - amid the rumors of google+ being a ghost town, I have found it to be the most influential, fastest and most significant social media site out there. I have become what they call a circle curator, which is nothing more that a collector of lists of influential people in different categories, in which i have not only gained integrity in many communities, but have obtained 61000 followers, and over 11,000,000 views on my profile
Circlecount - As ranked by my circle count profile, I have the 670th most influential googleplus profile in the United States http://www.circlecount.com/p/+RobbyBall?
INSTAGRAM - a bit more frustrating but i have finally found my niche here as well. Frustrating because as i first struggled to use it, my daughter and her friends kept asking me why i liked this that the other picture, and all i knew was I accidentally touched a picture and a heart showed up... but since then after giving up completely three times, I tried it a fourth time and I get it. It is a content distribution point where I can take a picture of something and have it automatically post to my word press blog, and from there autopost to my facebook fanpage, send a tweet create a post on Google+, send it to my Tumbler acct, Flickr acct etc etc etc. This allows me to be active all over the place by just taking a picture and leaving a note. I have 3000+ followers here
TSU - This is a brand new social media site that is growing exponentially faster than any social media site ever. Created two months ago has over two million members. Facebook took 11 months to get their first 1M. Twitter took 1.5yrs to get their first million. I just wanted to make sure I go a footprint there, just in case it becomes a significant entity and have gathered 10,000 firends and followers since they opened https://www.tsu.co/robbyba
EMPIRE AVENUE - This was originally designed as a social media stock market game that would turn your social media metrics into a score, and then others could buy and sell your virtual stock, and you could make virtual money investing in influential social media experts. I was drawn there because it was a great metric to tell me how I was doing on facebook, google+, pinterest, Flickr, foursquare, etc and let me know if I was doing things right or if I needed to adjust my strategy on each platform. currently I am a volunteer TEAM LEADER for empire Avenue, run a community, and work closely with the companies brand managers on strategy, promotions and day to day operational decision making on the website.
ETC ETC - I think I am have tried just about every social media site there is, I usually try to spend enough time to get 1000 followers, and submit significant content before pushing it aside, but believe it is important to have a footprint in most social media technologies, just in case they take off and become significant later. Here is a list of most all the other sites that I have spent significant time on