By Jami Miedema

Social media tools are useful in many ways both personally and professionally. We can connect with those we know, network with those we want to know, and market ourselves and our companies to those we think may benefit from knowing us. But how many of these tools are here to stay? In which tools should we invest our time to learn?

I never really caught on to Twitter or MySpace. Facebook was a great platform to network when I was in college. But now that several years have passed, the novelty has worn off, and it’s become tiresome to try to keep up with all of my “friends.” Apparently, I’m not the only one who felt that a social media detox was necessary. A recent article on MSNBC’s website states that MySpace has lost 10 million users last month and over 50 million users last year, leaving people to speculate that the company may not be around much longer. So while some users may have abandoned networking sites or just moved on to the next best thing, it proves that some forms of social media are here today, gone tomorrow.

However, I do think LinkedIn is one of the tools that is here to stay. After discussing social media with Dean, I agree with his view that in order to stay relevant, social media tools need to have a social, economic, and political impact. While both Facebook and LinkedIn fit that bill, LinkedIn seems the more viable candidate to be around long-term. Facebook is typically used to socially engage with friends and acquaintances. But what happens, especially in the younger demographic, when we “grow up” and our priorities shift from friends to family, and class to career? Suddenly, our concern isn’t with seeing how many “friends” one can find from long ago, but rather, establishing meaningful connections with others who are passionate about our line of work, our interests, and our causes in the here and now. LinkedIn provides the platform to find those connections that can carry us through our professional lives until retirement, which for me, is a long ways away!

What social media tools do you see sticking around for the long run?