Introduction to Social Media

With the introduction of the Internet came new ways of communicating with other people. Instead of writing letters, people started sending e-mails. Instead of calling on the phone, we began video chatting. The Internet also brought this thing called “social media,” a form of...

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With the introduction of the Internet came new ways of communicating with other people. Instead of writing letters, people started sending e-mails. Instead of calling on the phone, we began video chatting. The Internet also brought this thing called “social media,” a form of mass communication. The first generation brought blogs (or public journals), and sites like myspace. The second generation has brought a veritable cornucopia of social media sites that can be rather confusing to navigate. This post will provide some specific details about the most common social media sites people use today.

Facebook

This is the most popular and possibly the most comprehensive social media site. The basic features are a home page where you can post little journal entries about whatever you like, including photos and videos. These entries can be shared publicly or privately among your Facebook friends.

Facebook friends are other people who have accounts with Facebook whom you have allowed to connect with you. They can see things you put up and you can see things they put up on their account through your News Feed. If your sister lives several states away, for example, but you are friends on Facebook, you can see things she puts up about what’s going on with her and her family through your News Feed. You have the option to comment on her posts, and she can respond.

Facebook also allows you to send her messages through posting on her home page or through Facebook Messenger. This is simply an instant messaging tool within the site that allows you to communicate with friends through text or video.

One of the benefits of Facebook is its privacy. You can choose whom you befriend and who sees what you put up.

Twitter

This is a condensed form of social media. Similar to Facebook, you can share text or photos on your homepage. However, you are limited to 140 characters per post. Depending on the user, this may be a downside of the site. Many businesses and entrepreneurs use Twitter as a way to engage with their followers through blanket messages or brief conversations. Twitter is far more public; anyone can follow someone’s Twitter feed without the owner of the feed’s permission and post responses to their “Tweets.”

Instagram

This is specifically a photo sharing site. It has the benefit of integrating with other social media sites, such as Facebook, which will post each time you put up a new photo through Instagram. Again, as with most social media, those able to see your pictures may comment on them.

Pinterest

In essence, this is a tool to organize articles, pictures, anything you find on the Internet that you want to remember. Instead of writing down the link to that recipe you wanted to try or directions on the best way to build that birdhouse, save the link in a specially designated board in your Pinterest account along with a relevant image (added automatically). Again, you can choose whether you want other people to see your boards or whether you want them private, strictly for you own use. You can also search within the site for other things people have put on their boards and share what you’ve saved with your friends.

So there you have it. As you can see, most social media runs on the same basic format, but each site focuses on a specific aspect.

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