FYI: Tweet. Friend. Blog. Upload

Pick Your Platform and Join the Social Media Revolution

What is social media? It’s a catch-all phrase for websites that allow users to connect and share information with each other. Most social media sites allow users to pick and choose who can see the information being posted, so it allows users to “cherry-pick” their audience.

What social media sites exist?

Twitter: A micro-blogging service similar to text messaging that allows users to post 140-character status updates that can be viewed by “followers.”

Facebook: Users create their own “pages,” or miniature websites, where they can post information including photos, videos, links to other Web pages and status updates, as well as respond to what other people are writing. One-on-one chatting is also available, as are private messages. Privacy settings give you control over who sees your content.

YouTube: Designed for uploading and sharing videos. Allows users to comment on videos, share them with other users and post easily on other websites. Content can be anything from  “American Idol” replays to a video of your cat doing a silly trick.

LinkedIn: This service is for professionals interested in networking with business and personal contacts. Each user has a network of contacts that can be viewed by other users. It’s popular to use LinkedIn when looking for a job, and it serves as a virtual résumé.

Blogger/WordPress: Both Blogger and WordPress are platforms that allow users to write online journals and, in some cases, develop simple websites or blogs (short for Web Logs). Users control privacy settings. These sites are often used in tandem with Twitter and Facebook.


Should I pick Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn?

If you can, do all three, say social media experts. If you’re a consultant or in a business that requires a lot of networking, pick Twitter. If you need to post lots of videos, pictures and host events, choose Facebook. If you’re looking for a job, check out LinkedIn.

Isn’t Twitter just people postingboring things about what they had

for lunch? Sure, some Twitter users might write about more mundane things, but the vast majority of people on Twitter use it for professional reasons and having conversations.


Can I sign up for an account but not actually use it?

Sure. Experts say the best way to learn about social media is to sit back and watch.


How do I find friends or people to follow?

Twitter has a “find people” search function in which you can type in a name or a business and see if it matches a Twitter account. There also is, which is similar to Google in that it searches all Twitter accounts for a word or phrase. On Facebook, use “search” at the top of your main page and enter a name.


I keep hearing about Twitter and Facebook applications. Should I use them?

Some Twitter applications are very useful. TweetDeck, for instance, makes it easier to set up keyword alerts and track the subjects that interest you. There also are handy mobile applications, typically for smart phones, that allow users to access their account, update a status, and even submit video and photos.


Should I pay attention to who is “following” or “friending” me?

Yes. Social media experts say it can reflect badly on you or your business if spam or pornography accounts are attached to your account. Go through your followers periodically and block the inappropriate ones.



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