About Author

Category: Social Networks

Teens Can Use Social Media to Research and Report

When my middle school teen came home with the yearly papers for the science fair, she was stumped about what topic to cover this year. After talking about possible topics for a bit, she chose to research the possible connection between food allergies and age, but she had no idea how to collect enough information from people suffering food allergies to earn a decent grade on her science fair project. Eventually, she chose to use social media to connect with food allergy patients from around the world; taking a chance that someone would answer her brief survey. The results were much more than she could have anticipated. Within the first few days, she has received more than 1,000 hits on her blog, 300 survey responses and a re-tweet from Trace Adkins. How did my teen use social media to research and report?

Choose a Topic People are Passionate About

My daughter chose the topic food allergies for her research project. Families and patients tend to be very passionate about food allergy awareness. It helps that my son suffers from a severe peanut and tree nut allergy because the topic hits close to home. Look close to home for a relevant topic such as medical conditions, sports and after-school activities then research social networks and forums for community support.

Set Up a Simple Blog with a Free Blogging Service

Blogger was the blogging platform my daughter chose. I have experience with Blogger and set-up is simple. Other possible free blogging platforms include WordPress and Tumblr.

When setting up the research blog, stick to the basics. Set the front page to static, if possible, so updates don’t replace the project description on the front page. Blogger does not allow a static front page, so backdate updates to one year prior and add a note on your blog explaining why the updates are backdated. Check out my daughter’s Food Allergies and Age blog as an example.

Add a Simple Questionnaire or Survey to the Blog

Survey Monkey is a simple website to format free surveys and questionnaires. You can only collect 100 responses per free survey, so format several identical surveys and be ready to change out your survey is responses reach 100. Also, add an email address where visitors can send responses if the survey does not function properly.

Search for Facebook Pages and Twitter Accounts Related to the Research Topic

My daughter hit the ground running with social media research. She collected URLs or website address for forums, organizations, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts dedicated to her topic of food allergies. Teens can use various forms of social media to research and report for school projects; all it takes is a bit of research time and a little knowledge of social media practices.

Share the Link to the Blog on Social Media Networks

After collecting a long list of places to share the link to her blog, my daughter started sharing on social networks. She was particularly lucky when she found out Trace Adkins, a country music superstar, was the celebrity spokesperson for the Food Allergy  amp; Anaphylaxis Network. When she shared for blog link on Trace Adkins’ Twitter page, he quickly shared the link and congratulated my daughter on her project.

It is important to be diligent and paced when sharing social media links. The first 48 hours was the most popular time for my daughter’s blog. Since then, the hits and surveys keep coming, but the pace is much slower. She continues to add social connections to her ever growing list and shares her link at least 10 times a day.

Update Progress Often

The most common request from people visiting my daughter’s blog was for her to keep everyone updated on her progress. She updates her blog several times a day with links to food allergy support groups, information on survey responses and her thoughts on the project as a whole. She’s received several emails of congratulations and tons of support from the community.

The next time your teen comes home with a science fair project or research topic, don’t just hit Wikipedia or turn in another erupting volcano. Use social media, blogs and online surveys to collect information for the research topic. There are tens of millions of people out there sharing information on social media networks, which means your teen has the opportunity to touch tens of millions of lives.

To conclude, the aforementioned points are just a few on how to use social media for obtaining general knowledge and many youngsters today have chosen this platform for a career in the future as they have seen the advantages it can have, given its stupendous outreach in present times. It is no longer a place to simply beg for real instagram likes for a cheap price but one that has a far greater potential than what it portrays for entertainment purposes.

Social Media In 30 Minutes Or Less, Will It Be Great Or Not?

I’ve written several articles recently about the importance of social media for authors, be it published or unpublished, and listing dozens of ways to increase your all-important “platform” for publishers using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Smashwords and Scribd.com.

Since I work from home and am literally online 10-12 hours a day, every day, it’s easy for me to forget that lots of authors are using social media on the run; checking into Facebook for a few minutes here, tweeting for a few minutes there and perhaps posting on a blog or Scribd.com, in sense of become famous with Socialized activities, when they can.

I was reminded of this fact recently when a reader wrote in to say, “Help! This is all great advice IF you have the time, but I don’t. What can I do when I have less than 30 minutes a day?”

It got me thinking of what an effective social media campaign might look like if you didn’t have all day to post, update, tweet and re-tweet; if you didn’t even have an hour. And so, for my time-challenged author friends, here are five simple ways you can have an effective and optimal social media campaign in 30-minutes (or less) per day:

  1. Schedule It: If time is of the essence then you really, really have to schedule your time online when it comes to social media. Let’s say you really do only have 30-minutes per day to devote to social media. What will you do with them? How will you split them up? If you can find a nice block of 30-minutes, that’s a no-brainer, but if you’re grabbing 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch and 10 minutes after dinner, then so be it; make that your “schedule” and try to stick to it every day.
  2. Prioritize It: Let’s face it: some days you just won’t be able to hit all the sites that are important to you. What then? Know which sites you definitely want to hit in a day and then be active on them in that order. For instance, if you have 5,000 Facebook friends and 500 Twitter followers, well, start where you’re going to get the biggest bang for your time and make sure you cultivate those 5,000 FB friends before you turn to growing your Twitter base. If your blog or website is getting (far) more link-backs from Scribd.com than Linkedin these days, then recognize that trend and go where the heat is and hit Scribd before you tend to Linkedin.
  3. Cycle It: Ideally, you want to hit all your social media sites every day, but if you can’t, then start at the top of a short, daily “to do” list and get as far as you can before your 30-minutes are up. I call this the “cycle.” So, let’s say on your list you have Facebook, Twitter, Scribd.com, Smashwords and Linked In – in that order. Start at the top of the list and work your way down; stop when you’ve hit your 30-minutes. Let’s say you’ve only had time today to hit Facebook and Twitter on your cycle. That’s fine, just circle the sites you didn’t hit and, the next day, start with them so that you’re always hitting your 4-5 social media sites every two days, then starting over through the cycle.
  4. Share It: Don’t spend hours a day thinking of something original, fun, cutesy, clever or SEO-optimized to say; let others do the work for you! Seriously, you can boost your own profile while helping build the success of others by regularly sharing interesting, targeted and informative posts on Facebook or re-tweeting great links, advice or quotes on Twitter. I re-tweet often throughout the day and folks are always grateful for it; plus I get to share timely and helpful links or advice without scouring the internet for hours a day!
  5. Say It… With Less: Finally, don’t think you have to blanket your favorite or most effective social media sites with daily posts, long-winded witticisms or rambling messages. In fact, I’ve found that with social media less really IS more. Everyone is busy, not just you; so whenever you say something, say it with less. If you’ve thought of something funny, timely or relevant to share on Facebook, share it quickly and without a lot of explanation. If you’re tweeting a great link you found elsewhere, remember the link is the most important part of that post, not your rambling explanation about it. Trust your friends and followers to do the rest!

So there; you really CAN do social media on a time budget… IF you know what you want and how to find it – fast. This should come in handy as the holidays approach and we all find ourselves with less (online) time on our hands, and more family to see, share and enjoy. Happy holidays, happy writing and happy social media-ing!