Social Media 101

Or, You COULD call it Remedial Social Media

Early Days of the Computer (for me)

As a writer, I’m of the generation who first saw computers as gigantic monstrosities that could take up a room, several rooms, and the first one I ever worked on was the size of an office desk…in fact it was! My college computer courses consisted of shoeboxes full of cards (you drop it, you’re dead kind of thing) that when run through the big monstrosity over at the computer lab was supposed to result in long sheets of some design or other. You get the right design, you pass the class.

I passed the class…I didn’t drop my shoebox during finals week (though my roommate did)…and I’m not a huge computer geek.

Desktop computers arrived, but we were busy raising small children and didn’t get one until a friend gave us their old Mac…it worked for our son, who was in kindergarten and wanted to play Fireman on it. I learned how to run a basic bookkeeping program on it the years I was the PTA treasurer…and then one day we got a PC.

Initially, I was doubtful, but once the internet opened up I felt like I had fallen deep inside my favorite fairy tale and never wanted to resurface. Research at my fingertips…who would have thought it? That was my kind of computer! A transcription biz resulted, after all, I HAD to justify this beloved machine!

But…I was a bit of a hermit in those days. I liked hearing other people talk and I liked finding things out.


Not so easy for me.

And I discovered I wasn’t alone.


Know Me, Like Me, Trust Me

How can you know someone on a computer? About the same way you learn to know someone in real life. You find out about their friends, where they work, what they like to do…you check them out.

And this still isn’t good enough. Just ask Manti Te’o about his relationship with Lennay Kekua (a.k.a.Diane O’Meara).  He thought he had a real relationship going there. But darkness walks the internet, and even though Ronaiah Tuiasosopo intended no harm, he still used Diane’s pictures to construct a totally false persona that has everyone wondering how Te’o could be so gullible.

I’ll tell you how, Manti Te’o wanted to know, like, and trust Lennay Kekua. He liked what he saw, it made him feel good to have such a pretty girl as his internet girlfriend, and he liked how other people saw him because of it.

Think about the last time you interacted with someone on the internet. If they flattered you, made you feel good, made others look at you like you were the next Steve Jobs, you’d fall for it too, wouldn’t you?

Just about every person I’ve talked to has been burned on the internet because by nature we’re a relatively trusting species.


Social Media Networking

Just because they built it, doesn’t mean it will be safe to use.

Facebook changes their privacy rules pretty frequently, and we have wonderful watchdogs who then spew out warnings when you need to go in and tighten up your privacy settings.  If it’s a personal page and you want to protect your family, DO IT! If it’s a professional page and you don’t want to be hacked or “botted” monitor it daily!

Twitter, you can be just about anyone you claim to be on Twitter. Does it lead to good networking connections and ultimately conversations that develop into relationships? It sure can, but only if you do your research, interact appropriately, and don’t trust every word you read.

LinkedIn, that wonderful professional site that helps professionals to network with other people in their field, share ideas and knowledge, and offer opportunities to find and outsource work. There are still trolls…I mean, people trolling this platform to find people to scam. Just be aware of this.


Favorite Social Media Training Tools

My suggestion…actually my recommendation is to educate yourself about these various platforms. You do need to just get started somewhere, but by spending a little time learning what each of these social media platforms can do for you and how to use them to your best advantage will convince you, as they have me, that they are powerful and valuable as a means of networking in today’s environment of international marketing. Yes, you meet people from all over the world, and that, my friends, is the true beauty of the computer, the internet, and social media marketing.

Social Media Explained

Cendrine Marrouat has a very easy graphic that helps you to understand each of the various social media functions.

5 Social Media Articles to Read


101 Tweet-Tastic Tools for 2013 by Lilach Bullock (Socialable)


5 LinkedIn Features to Use Today


New Facebook Search Tool

Now, get out there, network, interact, make new friends using Social Media. But, be wary and check people out. Find people you trust and verify with them that someone new is good. And again be careful, because sometimes there are big bad groups of people who band together and vouch for one another…they make a h*ll of a lot of $ that way, but the rest of us end up the loser for it.

However, when you find a good group of people, nurture those relationships just as you would face to face. Social Media is an amazing tool when used wisely.