Useful Things that Twitter and Facebook Have Taught Me in the Social Media World
Five years ago my husband came home from work, full of excitement and started telling me stories about how great this new website Facebook was. I was a little skeptical about signing up on another social network, as I'd just started using Myspace and was quite happy with it, even though I didn't really use it. Eventually, I signed up to Facebook and as I'm sure happened to millions of people across the globe - my world literally changed.
Did You Know?
The idea to create Facebook was developed from its predecessor, also created by Mark Zuckerberg and known as Facemash.
What is Facebook?
Facebook is a social networking service and website that was launched in 2004. It was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates and fellow students, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.
Facebook currently has over 900 million active users, and even more interesting - more than half of them use Facebook on a mobile device!
Users must register on the website before their profile is set up, and once they've filled in their basic details - name, date of birth, interests, etc - they will be able to log in with their details and fill in more interesting information about themselves that they'd like to share, add photos or videos, and interact with friends.
Most businesses have a Public Profile page on Facebook, and they use this web page to interact with their customers, provide feedback, assist with complaints and just generally promote their business.
In November 2010, Facebook's value was $41 billion - becoming the third largest US Web company only after Google and Amazon.
10 Things Facebook Has Taught Me
- Not everyone is a "friend". I'm not one of those people who randomly accepts friend requests or tries to friend everyone I possibly can in order to make my friend score high. I'm friends with people I've met in real life, and people who I know through time spent interacting with them on other networks.
- I'm careful what I say. Have you ever had to resist the urge to type something along the lines of - "my colleague is annoying the !@#$ out of me today" - as your status? I have. Often. But, I've resisted the temptation for two reasons. (1) You never know who could be reading, and (2) Who reading their timeline and seeing your update will actually care?
- I unfriend people. Unfortunately, I've unfriended quite a few people on Facebook. I might speak to them in real life, but that doesn't mean I want to know every detail about their lives, like how they threw up this morning, why their husband is a jerk, that they're going to bed now, or that their life sucks. I have better things to do with my time. If your life sucks, then phone a friend.
- People don't care. As much as you think they might be interested, most people don't really care about the little business you've just started. They'll say "That's great!" and be enthusiastic at first, but then - they really lose interest. I learnt this the hard way a few years ago. That's what the business profile pages are for. Don't annoy people by promoting your business on your personal profile. Now and then is ok, but not continuously.
- Untag button. Ever had a cringe worthy photo of yourself appearing on Facebook where you've been tagged in? I've only had one, luckily - but thank goodness for the option to untag yourself! I don't like the idea of people posting pictures of you that you don't really want displayed. Not cool at all.
- The hide button. Do you have feed on your Facebook wall from someone who constantly sends you invites to join Mafia Wars or Farmville, and not much else? I like the option you have here to hide their feed without having to unfriend them. And, the best part - they won't even know about it.
- Long lost friends. Isn't it great to be able to reconnect with friends who you haven't seen or heard from in 20 years? I'm so grateful that I can still keep in touch with my close friends from primary school days. Friends I never thought I'd speak to again.
- Your family will embarrass you. Ok, maybe you're lucky and your family is cool that way, and they don't embarrass you - lucky you! A few years ago my sister-in-law commented on a photo of my husband and I on Facebook. This is what she said: "Hi vetties (fatties in Afrikaans), hope you are doing well!" Now, I know she didn't mean it vindictively, but no woman wants to be referred to as fatty - believe me! I immediately deleted the comment and went on a diet. I lose 10 kg's over the next year, so I guess I should thank her for that comment!
Did You Know?
The definition of Twitter is "a short burst of inconsequential information" and "chirps from birds".
What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters. These are known as "tweets".
Twitter was created in 2006 by Jack Dorsey. In early 2012, there were 140 million active users that generated over 340 million tweets a day! Since being launched, Twitter has become one of the top ten most visited sites on the Internet.
Anyone can read tweets on Twitter, but you will need to register in order to activate your account profile and to start sending tweets.
Users can group messages together on Twitter by using the hash-tag (#) at the end of a word. For example, a tweet could read the following: "This game is close! I really don't know who's going to win! #rangers #baseball". The tweet will now be linked under the groups 'rangers' and 'baseball', so anyone searching for these topics on Twitter can stumble across your tweets in those lists.
7 Things Twitter Has Taught Me
- Records are kept. Everything you say (and don't delete immediately if you make a mistake) is recorded and right there on the Internet for anyone to read. So be careful! Employers are really serious these days about looking up candidates on all social media platforms before making the decision to hire them, or even interview them.
- Interaction is key. When I had my business, I made the mistake of really only self promoting my services and products. I barely interacted with other people on my Twitter timeline. Eventually, someone from a Social Media company in SA told me what I was doing wrong, and I was then able to change the way I was trying to promote my business - this helped a lot! Businesses need to interact and be interested in other people in order for other people to be interested in them, and their products and services offered. That's just the way it works today.
- Celebrities true colours. You know that cool character from your favourite TV show that you really like? Well, guess what? They're on Twitter! And, guess what else? They're really not that cool after all. I've followed a couple of celebrities on Twitter whose accounts are verified, and I've actually been quite disappointed with how full of themselves they are and how they come across. But, on the bright side - I've come across other celebrities on Twitter who interact with lots of people all the time, promote their charities, and just tweet about normal, everyday things. This makes me realize, that they too are only human like the rest of us.
- Follow Friday. Follow Friday is really cool and I've only recently started doing this again. What you do is recommend people that you enjoy following to other people. So you would tweet something like "#followfriday @jackyd, @miss_b, @theiceshop", etc. It's good karma and I find that when doing that you'll get a lot more exposure and more people will take notice of you and want to follow you too.
- Non human followers. Suddenly you have about 10 people following you in the space of an hour. You get excited and go look at who's following you, only to find that most of them are bots. Yes, those annoying Twitter bots. A Twitter bot is a computer program that watches every public tweet for popular keywords. When a bot finds a tweet with those keywords, it sends a pre-written response that might look as though it came from someone who actually read your tweet and has commented on it. There's nothing dangerous about these bots, they're more annoying spammers than anything else - just don't click on any of their links that they might post in their messages to you.
- Don't be a bore. Want to know the fastest way to lose followers? Tweet about everything, and when you're doing it. What time you woke up, why your leg is sore, how your partner kept you awake the night before with their snoring, what food didn't agree with your stomach, what show you're busy watching, why your nose is itchy, etc, etc, etc. It's nice to know that you have an audience to share some of your frustrations with, but really - no one wants to know that much about a person or see that on their timeline. Keep it interesting and light. Don't over share or moan constantly.
- Pay it forward. The best compliment you can receive is if someone else re-tweets one of your tweets. This shows that they really like what you've said - so much to the point that they felt it necessary to share it with the rest of their followers. Remember what I said earlier about karma? Pay it forward. If you find something interesting or funny that you want to share with your followers, re-tweet someone else's tweet.
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