Social media for the newbies

Last weekend, I ventured out to southern California for a weekend trip.  I met up with some old friends who aren’t in the biz (aka tech world).  One friend said that she was still figuring out the whole social media thing.  The first things that came to mind were Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  I thought to myself, what’s there to know?  So this posting is to help my friend and others who are completely clueless.  If you are familiar with GTL (Jersey Shore reference), I’m going to call these three FTL.


What is it?  An online social network where you can add people as “friends” (must be mutually accepted by friend) and post information for others to see.  Your main page is a running feed of your friends’ most recent status updates, pics, links, and videos.
Pro:  Stay connected with people you don’t see often, re-connect with long lost friends, easy to share info about yourself to your “friends”
Con: Not so private if you have many friends, sometimes awkward to de-friend friends, companies could consider as a no-hire decision, privacy options changes often
Decision Factor: You like to stay up to date with personal friends and family and/or you like to share information with a lot of people
Tip:  Only share information that is mom and co-worker friendly


What is it?  An online social / micro blogging network where you can subscribe to anyone with an account and post your 140-character long updates (known as tweets).  Your main page is a running feed of updates from people whom you follow and people who mention you.
Pro:  Easy to stay up to date with the latest news on any topic, great for discussions during big events
Con: Waste of time to “tweet” if no one is following you, takes time to build credibility and get many followers
Decision Factor:  You want to stay up to date with a topic and/or you are a subject matter expert in a field and want to share your knowledge with everyone
Tip: Get more followers by participating in Twitter hash tag discussions (e.g., “#” followed by a string of words)


What is it?  An online professional network where you can add co-workers, acquaintances, etc. as “connections”.  Your main page is a running feed of updates from your connections
Pro:  Recruiters love finding candidates here, opportunities to show off co-worker recommendations
Con: It’s hard to publicize that you are job hunting if you have co-workers as your connections, you can’t directly contact unknown connections (as a basic account member)
Decision Factor:  You may one day want to actively or passively seek a new job
Tip: Build up your LinkedIn connections today, don’t wait until you need a new job

There you have it!  F-T-L power!  It’s not for everyone, but surely one, two, or all is a fit for you.