Communication is changing and it is up to each one of us to keep up with the change.
So what exactly is Social Media? According to Wikipedia, Social Media "is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media uses Internet and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues ( many to many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers. "
Does that sound complicated? Well, it really is not. Keeping it simple, Social Media is the ability to utilize the internet to stay connected with others through the use of simple messages that are published on membership websites for all to see; with the ability to comment or respond to these messages. It is also a great way to keep up with friends and family without having to pick up the phone.
To get started with Social Media, you will need to get an account with either Facebook or myspace. The most popular today is facebook, however you should consult with your friends to determine where they spend their time to make sure you have immediate connections. For this article, I will use Facebook as the example.
Once you join the site, you will want to create your Page. A Page is your virtual bulletin board for your life; also called a Wall. Your Wall is where you will post your thoughts, photos and comments about your life. It is also the place where you will receive comments from Friends. On a Social Media site, all of your connections are friends; whether they are new or old acquaintances. Family members will also be called Friends.
The first task for any new page is your Profile Photo. You will want to have a photo that represents who you are online. It can be an old college photo, or a current headshot. Whatever it is, the photo will be there for the world to see. The formatting for the photos are typically a.jpg. The process of uploading photos onto a Social Media site is simple. All you need to do is make sure where to locate the photos on your computer hard drive.
The second task will be focused on adding and editing your Info Tab; or the background information that you will want others to see. This section will include school and job information; as well as, favorite books and quotes. Give thought to this area, as your new friends will discover common hits and hobbies that you may share by reading your info tab. In this section, you can also add your Networks to your profile. A Network can be related to your employment, college, or city. It is a quick way to connect to one of your communities in your life and let others know where you are from.
Now that you have completed your two main tasks in establishing your online presence, you can now focus on finding your connections. It is always great to call a close friend and let them know you are on the site. Once you have one connection, it will only be a matter of time before you have several, and then a hundred, and so on. Now collecting friends is not automatic. You must "accept" their friendship. The feature of accepting or ignoring is important, especially if you are trying to remain clear of someone. Along with this feature, another aspect that you will need to address is the Privacy issue. You can limit how much information is seen by the general public, as well as friends. If you hold a top-secret clearance, then you may want to consider keeping your Social Media activities strictly to family and close friends; or skip the idea all together.
Now that we have addressed the basics of getting an account set up on a Social Media site, stay tuned for Social Media Basics: The New Rules of Online Etiquette.