Social media basics

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Social media has many uses. You can keep in touch with your friends and family, look for jobs and sell products and services.

What is social media?

Social media is a type of online communication where people share messages and ideas.

Most popular social media examples:


    What do you use it for? – You can keep in touch with your family and friends; find out about current events; connect with people with the same interests; promote a cause, business, organization, or charity.

    What do you need to watch out for? Scammers (people who try to cheat you) who send friend requests, sharing too many pictures and details about your life, and “flamers and trolls” who post rude messages to start online arguments and fights.


    What do you use it for? You can find out about current events and trends and share your own messages. Your post (called a tweet) can be up to 140 characters long (now doubled up to 280 characters). You can attach links, photos, and videos with tweets. You can also search for other tweets about different topics using a hashtag (#). For example, if you are interested in global warming, enter #globalwarming” in the search box. Many people can share links to materials for self-improvement or professional development on Twitter.
    What do you need to watch out for? You should be careful of what you say on Twitter. There are people who have lost their jobs and ruined their reputation because of the negative tweets (i.e. racist, offensive, etc.).


    What do you use it for? You can use it to promote your skills and professional experience and connect with other professionals in your field. Also, your future employers may view your LinkedIn profile.

    What do you need to watch out for? Make sure your LinkedIn profile is protected because there can be a lot of personal information in it. You should limit the personal information you have in your profile and choose a secure password. For tips, read 5 tips for online safety.

Watch this video by Professor Heather Austin on “How To Use LinkedIn To Network – 5 LinkedIn Networking Tips”:

Also read: 5 ways LinkedIn can help your career

Explore the net

Check out Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Periscope for connecting with others, finding and sharing information. Just remember to always stay safe and watch what you post and share online.

Sources:, and The beginner’s guide to social media by Marc Georges on Mashable.

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Community Resources

For more information, read 5 simple rules of proper netiquette and Tips to maximize your online experience.

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