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Digital Diver

Social Networking 101 For Divers

Social media websites are among the most popular on the world wide web. They can be powerful tools for dive businesses, or just fun – for a sea of divers.

Text by Russell Clark

We’ll start with the best known and the second most popular website on the planet (Google gets the top spot). Every man and his dog are on Facebook! Hey, FB owner Mark Zuckerberg has a page just for his dog, and with nearly two million ‘likes’ it’s more popular than PADI. Sign up and ‘post’ pictures, videos, links or words of wisdom to your ‘wall’. Track long lost dive buddies, organize events or promote your business or online community. Almost endless possibilities with over 1.28 billion users ready to hear your voice. Facebook can be a powerful advertising platform or form of personal, social communication.

A ‘micro-blogging’ website that allows you to post messages of 140 characters or less. ‘Follow’ people, including celebrities, dive stores, charters, etc., and stay abreast of all that’s going on. This instantaneous text tool has become the world’s foremost news resource, often breaking global stories before news agencies.

A networking platform especially for business and professionals. Sign up for free and ‘link’ with people in your industry, old work colleagues, or to join discussion groups in your field. The dive industry is well represented, so get in!

An online pin board for collecting, organizing and sharing the things you love. Very popular with female audiences but open to one and all. Find and ‘Pin’ fab photos: underwater images, your pet cat or those freshly baked muffins in your kitchen!

Another micro-blogging website for posting multimedia content in short form (but not limited like Twitter). Users can follow like-minded bloggers, or add to the 195 million plus blogs, all for free.

This service enables users to shoot photos and video, upload and embelish them using filters and then share with other Instagramers, or on other networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Noteworthy features: the 4:3 aspect ratio of the photos, and the ‘old fashioned’ filters. A trendy way to share dive photos with your buddies.

Google’s new entry since October 2013 aims to be a social network and identity service that acts as an authorship tool, associating web content with its owner. We’re not exactly sure what that means, and we’re not alone. As with other networks, users can add profile photos, personal details and history. They can also join ‘hangouts’ – free video conferences for up to ten people.

Already a popular site with underwater photographers, Flickr sees an incredible 3.5 million photos added by users every day. Flickr users get 1000GB of free storage for their images. Now the world’s largest photographic community, it hosts many discussions and is ‘on deck’ 24/7 to offer you helpful advice and feedback.

An online social network that facilitates group meetings wherever in the world the participants may reside. Local dive clubs, dive shops, can use Meetup to find divers, organize and promote events.

Part social network, part Internet discovery service. Sign up, log in and stumble upon a website that falls within your designated parameters. Type in ‘SCUBA’ and you’ll be taken to a related website that has attracted the attention of other StumbleUpon users. A neat way of discovering new, even unique, websites and passing the hours at home…or work!

Purchased by Google in 2006 this video sharing website has forever changed the way the public consumes media. Users make and upload their own videos, free of charge, for private or public viewing. Others can give a thumbs up or down to each video, or leave comments. With 100 hours of video being uploaded every minute, we can safely guarantee there are thousands of SCUBA-related videos to watch, discuss and share.

Similar to YouTube, Vimeo is also a video upload and sharing network, though it has been adopted largely by a semi-professional/serious film making community. Short films and documentaries are in abundance, including lots on marine life, SCUBA diving and nature.

A spartan-looking social and news network allowing registered divers to post text, pictures, videos, website links, etc. Site visitors can then vote on the appeal of these posts. Join the conversation!

A neatly executed idea growing in popularity, Yelp is an urban online guide with business ratings and reviews, posted by a network of public users. Sign up for free and offer your ratings and reviews of dive operators, gear, dive stores, in your area or from experiences when you’re traveling.

A location based social network used mainly on mobile devices utilizing GPS. Users can ‘check in’, allowing others to see where they are. Write reviews of businesses, add images, earn badges and points, and even be appointed ‘Mayor’. Businesses can also join in, by listing their services, offering promotions and even taking advantage of user focused advertising.

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