Let's face it: Social media in 2010, and the way we utilize it as professionals and businesses on a daily basis is constantly changing. It is impossible for any single person to keep up with everything these days, which is why it is important to be seeking out additional points of view, case studies for reference, and the latest statistics. But where do you start seeking out this information? Instead of pressing that Google Search button for everything, why not start frequenting some top websites where definitive blog posts are being published by thought leaders in the industry?
This question prompted me to ask fans on my Windmill Networking Facebook Fan Page as to where they go in 2010 to read up on social media advice and news excluding Mashable. I exclude Mashable because they have, in essence, become the CNN of social media, so needless to say they are one of the most important sources for news & information. If you want to find other sources and different perspectives of advice, news, and unique insights, where do you look? Here's how my readers voted, in descending order of importance (and what percent voted for each particular website):
1.) Social Media Examiner (18%) - Created by Michael Stelzner, a blogger, business author, and also the person behind big social media events like the Social Media Success Summit, the secret behind Social Media Examiner's success is that many thought leaders in social media contribute to the blog, including Mari Smith (the Queen of Facebook and co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day), Chris Garrett (co-author of ProBlogger), and Jason Falls (who is #2 on this list!). A look at the current popular posts shows that while the content covers all of social media, Facebook-related posts seem to be the gems. Check out their excellent Facebook 101 for Business which they just published this week for an example of their content.
2.) Social Media Explorer (17%) - This blog is the brainchild of social media consultant Jason Falls. How can the blog of one person be voted into the #2 position on this list? By consistently providing high quality and relevant content. A look at some the categories of his blog gives you a good feel for the blog content: Public Relations, Social Media Monitoring, Search Marketing, and Advertising & Marketing. Yes, not everything Jason blogs about is pure "social media," but the secret to his success is that he also blogs about disciplines (Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Search) that heavily overlap social media and provide us broader insight. For an idea of his writing, check out his How to Make LinkedIn Answers Part of Your Routine. I should also point out that Jason took this cool picture of windmills networking outside of Chicago that he sent to me which I hope you enjoy as well:
3.) Read Write Web (14%) - Read Write Web has been around for awhile, but don't let that fool you into thinking that they are "old school." Its history began as a team of international journalists covering the changing Internet, and their coverage in terms of blog posts goes way beyond the mere topics of sites such as Facebook and Twitter to include diverse internet-related topics such as mobile technology, augmented reality, and structured data. As social media, after all, is based on internet technology, it's always nice to get a broader perspective of things that Read Write Web provides us. One recent post that I recommend you read: Social Media Use Cases: Arcade Fire. They're a great Canadian band, by the way.
4.) Social Media Today (13%) - SMT is actually a company that helps businesses manage online B2B communities. They are obviously able to deliver the goods with the impressive community web site that they have built themselves surrounding social media and their ability to aggregate high quality blog posts from featured bloggers including Brian Solis (his own blog finished #7 in this poll), Ford's Scott Monty, small business marketing expert John Jantsch, Jason Falls, and personal branding guru Dan Schawbel. There are many thought-provoking blog posts that I could recommend you read, but I'll start with one for you bloggers out there: Want More Comments on Your Blog? Spend Less Time There.
5.) Hubspot Blog (9%) - Hubspot is the Internet Marketing company that created the term and concept of "Inbound Marketing" that describes a lot of what social media marketing is about. It's co-founders wrote one of my Top 15 Social Media Books of 2009, Inbound Marketing. As a company, Hubspot continues to pay it forward and educate us through their numerous free webinars, e-books, and excellent blog posts. Their blog posts are extremely practical as well as educational. If you're looking for even more resources for social media blogs, check out their post from earlier this year on 36 Awesome Social Media Blogs Everyone Should Read.
6.) Chris Brogan (8%) - The co-author of the New York Times bestseller Trust Agents, it seems that Chris has been blogging forever, but he still amazingly continues to deliver on providing great and timely content to all of us, always providing unique and a very educational perspective on how professionals and businesses should be using social media. He also tends to create a lot of though provoking posts that end with questions and generate a lot of very interesting comments. One example is his recent post Reading Your RSS Feeds is Not a Job. What also differentiates Chris is that he is also one of the most genuinely approachable people in social media, which no doubt adds fuel to his social media fire of creativity, content, and popularity! Don't believe me? When he was recently in Orange County, my friend Ted Nguyen contacted him asking for an interview, and below is the result of that. Social media rockstars don't get any more approachable than this.
7.) Brian Solis (8%) - If there is any one blogger who is constantly creating compelling and insightful content with regards to social media marketing these days, I'd have to personally vote for Brian Solis. Author of the book Engage and co-author of Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, his writing has both a refreshing academic nature to it, mentioning and bookmarking plenty of statistics and studies to back up what he writes, as well as a provocative "Wake up and smell the coffee or die" feel to it. I loved one of his recent blog posts which I recommend you check out as well: ROI Doesn't Mean "Return on Ignorance".
Note that the top websites for 2010 listed above were chosen by me, not the poll visitors, and that the "Other" category got 11% of the vote. I suspect that some sites that could have been considered for the list that you should also check out, amongst many others, would include: TechCrunch, Open Forum, and Social Business One.
Where do you go in 2010 to find out the latest and most insightful information on social media? Is it listed above? Please share other top websites and blogs that you highly recommend for us! Thanks!