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Social media optimization (SMO) is a set of methods for generating publicity through social media, online communities and community websites. Methods of SMO include adding RSS feeds, social news buttons, blogging, and incorporating third-party community functionalities like images and videos. Social media optimization is related to search engine marketing, but differs in several ways, primarily the focus on driving traffic for sources other than search engines, though improved search ranking is also a benefit of successful SMO.

Social media optimization is in many ways connected as a technique to viral marketing where word of mouth is created not through friends or family but through the use of networking in social bookmarking, video and photo sharing websites. In a similar way the engagement with blogs achieves the same by sharing content through the use of RSS in the blogsphere and special blog search engines.

Social Media optimization is considered an integral part of an online reputation management (ORM) or Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) strategy for organizations or individuals who care about their online presence.

Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few. Examples of social media applications are Google Groups (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), MouthShut.com yelp.com (product reviews), Youmeo (social networking) Facebook Last.fm (personal music), YouTube (social networking and video sharing), Avatars United (social networking), Second Life (virtual reality), Flickr (photo sharing). Twitter (social networking and microblogging), and other microblogs such as Jaiku. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms like Mybloglog and Plaxo.

Examples of social media software applications include:

* Blogs: Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress, Vox

* Internet forums: vBulletin, phpBB

* Micro-blogging / Presence applications: Twitter, Plurk, Jaiku

* Social networking: Bebo, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Orkut, Skyrock, Hi5

* Social network aggregation: FriendFeed, Youmeo

* Events: Upcoming, Eventful, Meetup.com

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