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Navigating Social Media

Social media is the social interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Social media depends on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. The most popular social media outlets are Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Foursquare, Google, Pinterest, Youtube and Linkedin. Social media has become its own world and in this world, it is important to maintain a good online character. You never know who may be seeing your profiles. It is imperative to be careful what you write online.

What was once personal or private may now be everyone’s business. Facebook alone has more than 483 million daily users and it’s growing. Online social networking enables individuals to connect with family and friends, play games, and express themselves. It’s the expressing themselves part that gets users of social networks tangled up. Posts on certain social networking sites, like Facebook, have the potential to reach a vast audience in a very short time. More and more employers are now using social networks to recruit and to gain more information on potential candidates.

Here are five tips to help you thrive in the increasingly complex world of social media, and to stand out from the crowd in your area of expertise online:

  1. Decide who you are professionally. What do you want to be known for? Define your area of expertise, and then ensure that you brand yourself accordingly.
  2. Post with purpose. Avoid posting material just for the sake of putting up content. Before you post, ask what the post says about you personally. Not everything should be shared, the things you don’t post tell the world as much about you – or more – than the things you do post.
  3. Social networking is still primarily about networking, so you should be mindful of not only what your posts say about you to potential employers, but also to your friends and family.
  4. Sometimes less is more. Your social network is a form of media exposure and good public relations agents make sure their clients don’t get over exposed. There are lessons to be learned from this approach, before posting ask yourself if you are advancing your brand by providing some new information about yourself or are you repeating yourself.
  5. Post your best leave the rest. Social networks allow us instant and immediate access to the world; use this access judiciously. Never post while angry, under the influence, or in any other state that may cause you to post things you will regret later.

When you use social media safely and correctly, it can be very beneficial. It can:

  • Provide social confidence by interacting with others
  • help you become more familiar and comfortable with new and emerging technology
  • Help with finding employment
  • Allows people to stay in touch and up to date (while being miles apart)
  • Excellent business tool for growth by free marketing and promotions and increased recognition
  • Great tool for organizing and planning events
  • Great space to chat with those with similar interests

There are unlimited reasons to join a social media network, for business or employment growth or for a social aspect with friends, family and those with similar interests. Remember to protect yourself and your character. Use the tips above to stay safe and benefit from the use of social media.

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