Ways to Stay Up-to-Date with Social Media Changes
Staying up-to-speed with social media during a job search can be frustrating, even for people who work in the industry. New technologies are emerging every week, and existing companies are merging, splitting, and adapting quickly. As a job seeker, you certainly don't need to be on top of the very latest, but knowing what's out there can help you find new and creative ways to manage your career.
Read social media news sites
Following and reading all the various sources of information about social media companies can be a real waste of time, especially if you don't work in that field. Lucky for you, writers and analysts summarize and comment on these updates on relatively few news sites. Scanning the following sites on a weekly or monthly basis keeps you in the loop regarding all things social media:
Mashable: Mashable offers the most comprehensive news and commentary on the social media landscape.
The Next Web: This site publishes technology news with an international focus. You can drill down into the Social Media channel to reach topic-specific articles. (See the different Channels on the left-side column of the home page.)
TechCrunch: TechCrunch is a leading technology news site where you can find lots of information about the tech and startup world. Probably only a third of the news here pertains to social media.
Social Media Examiner: This site mainly focuses on social media for marketing. But if you subscribe to the Social Media News tag, you can get a clean summary of the most important updates hand selected by human beings!
Set up weekly summary Newsletters
If you don't like to spend your spare time surfing news sites, consider setting up a subscription for a technology summary newsletter so the news comes to you. These newsletters typically contain articles from leading news sites around the web.
Try SmartBrief on Social Media, which is the most well-respected social media-news summary you can get delivered right in your inbox.
View real-time web updates with RSS feeds
When you find blogs or news sites related to social media, simply subscribe to their RSS feed. RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a technology that allows you to subscribe to and read various websites all in one place. Setting up an easy-to-read listening station with your RSS reader is easy. Try using Feedly, which generates a magazine-like user interface.
Join a local club
Getting involved with a local social media club gives you access to other people who are doing the work of staying up-to-date for you. Most major metropolitan cities have a group of social media enthusiasts. You can search for a club in your area at Socialmediaclub.org or Meetup.com. Social Media Club has more than 166 chapters in the United States and clubs in more than 40 countries around the world.
Not all the groups you find are relevant to you as a job seeker, but they're likely putting on events and inviting guests who have something interesting to say — at least every once in a while.
Make new technology-savvy friends
Take a look at your circle of friends. Are they open to new technologies? Do they talk passionately about the latest and greatest Facebook feature? Or do they cringe whenever you mention the words text message?
One great way to get to know technologically inclined people is to attend technology conferences and events. Here are some ways to find technology events in your area:
Use Mashable to find annual technology conferences. If a conference is in your area, consider attending, even if you don't know what's going on.
See your local chamber of commerce or business journal. These organizations spend a lot of time and energy educating their local businesses and quite frequently offer active calendars with training, networking, and educational opportunities.
Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are digital audio or video episodes that you can download to your computer or MP3 player. New episodes come out regularly and often represent current trends in innovation. iTunes offers a wide array of free social media–focused podcasts and classes. From Today in Social Media to 6 Pixels of Separation, you have your pick of episodes to download and listen to.
Watch social media TV
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Cruising YouTube is a fun and informative way to stay up-to-speed on social media. For reliable and constant content, subscribe to a YouTube channel that's focused solely on social media by following these steps:
Type "social media" into the search bar on YouTube and click on the Search button.
Click on Filter & Explore just below the search bar and choose Channel to sort out the social media–related channels.
Subscribe to Mashable and any other channels you find compelling.
Read the tweets from pundits
Social media thought leaders, not surprisingly, share their thoughts on Twitter. Why not follow them and read what they have to say? Of the many self-proclaimed social media gurus, here's a list of tweeps (Twitter users) who truly deserve your attention:
Use social bookmarking
Social bookmarking is a way for Internet users to share what websites they're reading. These sites often track trends and news more accurately than news sites themselves. You can see what articles are being read and shared in real time. Social bookmarking can help you stay up-to-date with social media because people bookmark new and interesting news sources as they come out. Check out Stumbleupon, Reddit, and Digg.