5 seriously underrated aspects of social media

Like you, I once naively thought that social media was used for sharing your life experiences and bonding with close family, friends, and the random people who send friendship requests that you accept for no apparent good reason. But there is so much more to social media, and here are five of the most underrated things that you can experience in-between tweeting about what you just had for lunch and poking people you only vaguely know…

1. Twoogle
Twoogle is the great new practice of certain Twitter users taking the word Google and the word Twitter, combining them with an added hashtag, and then proceeding to ask their lucky followers a bunch of questions ranging from the personal, like “what’s the best place to get my hair done in Roodeport?” to more technical questions, like “what’s the square route of pi?” and “what’s the best way to quarterize a rabbit with a chainsaw?”

Sure, you could argue that people who use Twoogle could just do what most people do when they need this kind of information (Google it) but Google is so cold and impersonal. With Twoogle, you get to have your question answered and get some much-needed attention at the same time!

2. LinkedIn
Nothing says ‘I love you, you’re special’ like an ‘Invitation to Connect on LinkedIn’. And, by signing up to this extremely useful social media platform, you’ll get at least thirteen of these a day. Which is just as well, because LinkedIn has no discernible purpose other than helping brighten up your day by sending you these heartwarming invitations.

I logged onto it once in 2008 with the intention of avoiding work, and fell asleep at my keyboard for so long that when I woke up I was convinced that I had been roofied by a colleague. You may be relieved to know that medical tests concluded that I was not roofied (which really hurt my feelings, to be honest) but was instead just bored into catatonia by LinkedIn.

3. Google plus
When Google launched its competitor to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg must have spent at least 10 seconds being vaguely worried. Fortunately for him it did not quite manage to kill Facebook (although I’m sure it is fierce competition to Bebo). I like it though. The best part of Google+ is that it is free of the feature that makes its competitors so annoying — genuine human interaction.

That’s because it there are no people who use it, which is great for someone like me who doesn’t really like people all that much. I can go onto Google+, post something, go back and check the post an hour later, and there are no pesky comments or ‘plus ones’ (Google +’s groundbreaking and original take on the Facebook ‘like’ button). After years of people insisting on replying to me every time I go onto Facebook or Twitter, this is refreshing. It’s where I go when I want to be alone.

4. Facebook Causes
Gone are the days where, if you wanted to get involved in a social cause and change the world for the better, you needed to leave the comfort of your couch. Now, after just one click of a button, you can help save the rhino, end starvation, protect the Sumatran tiger or even stop people from painting the president’s dong. And the best part is that you get to know just how famous activists like Gandhi or Steve Biko felt.

If they were alive they would totally stop all that unnecessary extra work they’re doing and just sign up to Facebook Causes instead. In fact, I just got an email right now saying that the world is officially saved thanks to Facebook Causes. And they couldn’t have done it without me. It’s a pleasure.

5. Foursquare
Nothing is quite as satisfying as when you see people you are close to achieving great things. The other day, I received a Foursquare update from a friend, saying “I am now the mayor of News Cafe, Edenvale”. I almost burst into tears, I was so proud. Just by being a registered member of Foursquare, this person had risen up the ranks and been declared the mayor of one of East Johannesburg’s most stylish bistros, which is obviously a really, really important honour. But Foursquare isn’t just for becoming the mayor of places, it can also be used to tell people exactly where you are all the time!

Which isn’t only fascinating for the recipient, but is ask particularly useful if you’re a psychotic stalker. Now, you don’t have to be very proactive at all, and can instead just wait for your stalker to tell you exactly where he or she is. Thanks Foursquare. Hang tight, Charlize, I’m coming for you…



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