Brief post this week, as these days my day job is fast becoming a day/night job. After the dialogue following last week's post, I wanted to expand on social media's definition a bit this week, as well as look at some easy ways to get started in "digital social media advertising."

It's hard to hold conversations when everyone who's talking has varying views on the definitions of key vocabulary. Yet our entire industry is talking about social media -- and I defy you to find two people that define social media the same way. Determined to solve this problem for the industry single-handedly... I looked up the term on Wikipedia (which, incidentally, cites itself as an example of social media). What I found was not only woefully incomplete (first time this has happened to me on Wikipedia), but there are a couple of areas where I would differ with the entry entirely.

In the real world we turn to colleagues and friends for advice on what products and services to buy; generally trying to avoid the salesperson. Understandably this is why social media is so effective and can facilitate an increase in a marketer's bottom line. No longer do we have to rely only on mass media for our information and advice. Social media (and Web 2.0 technologies) allow us to create innovative targeted campaigns to promote brand and product awareness and can provide us with valuable feedback.

During Mother's Day, the kids all went into the family room. The PC was driven by two 17-year-old girls and overlooked by two 12-year-old boys. Of course the girls kept telling the boys to go outside and play. They wanted to be together and "check people out" on MySpace. Talk about social anthropology. They get together in person and talk and talk. Inevitably they end up sharing a chair in front of a computer with a broadband connection. The bulk of the conversation is showing each other their friend's postings, musings, cynicism and wacky photos on MySpace.

Hello, hello, hello!

In the last 12 months, companies have latched with almost religious fervor onto the notion that consumers want to be socially connected online, whether on mass-appeal sites such as MySpace, on targeted niche sites and video sites, or even on mobile phones.

A charitable organization wants to understand how to work with social networks to increase its donor base. My research, including a test lab with subjects aged 17 and 21, has led me to wonder what impact these networks will have on reaching Gen Y/Net Gen, and how networks will affect the future of email.

Watching too much TV? Start social networking.

Social networking increases Internet usage, according to a study called "Never Ending Friending."

The study was conducted by TNS, Teenage Research Unlimited and Marketing Evolution, and commissioned by MySpace, Carat and Isobar.

Is the current definition of "influencer" too narrow?

Everyone has some influence, but people with larger networks use more technology to spread theirs, according to "Understanding Influence, and Making It Work For You: A CNET Networks Study."

Highly connected people use e-mail to keep up with their dozens of contacts. In fact, they use e-mail far more often than the phone to stay in touch.

Even though online communities (social networks) have experienced stellar growth in recent years, In-Stat reports that their future remains somewhat uncertain.

With fierce competition, sites explore new ad models

Social networking buzz belies an impending sector shakeout, according to In-Stat's "Social Networking: Finding Friends Online" report.

The report says membership and monetization are key issues for social networking sites.

In a speech delivered at the Beer Business Daily Conference in Phoenix, Guy Smith, Executive Vice President of Diageo North America, called on the members of the alcohol industry to rally their support for the launch of the “We Don’t Serve Teens” campaign aimed at fighting underage drinking.

A recent national survey found that more online gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) individuals use social networks Friendster and MySpace per week compared to online heterosexuals. Other well-known websites such as YouTube, Craigslist and personal web logs also were found to be more popular among GLB individuals.

Tis' the season of giving - back.

Can corporate social performance actually help a company's bottom line? Finding a connection between social and financial performance has proven elusive for both academic and corporate researchers, with disappointingly varied results. But according to a new model focused on consumer behavior from Rice University, the secret may lie in the ways companies disseminate information about social programs and how they segment markets based upon customers' values.

The results of a study by corporate social responsibility consultants at Fleishman-Hillard (FH) surprised many people because they seemed to demonstrate that consumers care far more about how companies treat their employees than any other measure of so-called "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CS