Why Social Media Should Be Part of Your Life, Even Just a Little Bit
By Nick Kossovan
Do you need to be part of the social media scene? Only you can answer this question.
For the sake of definition, social media is a collective term for websites and applications (apps) which focus on communication, community-based input, interaction and content-sharing
Most of us believe we have a good understanding of social media and how it works. What if I told you Twitter has 6 different forms of communication networks or that Facebook is most active on Fridays? Would you still think you’re a social media guru?
Surprisingly in 2020, many people still don’t want any part of social media. Maybe these people are very private, or extremely modest, or dare I say it’s an “age thing.” Whatever the reason, they haven’t been sold on the value of accessing blogs, pictures, podcasts, videos, online shopping, messaging, video chatting, and news, to name just a few of the benefits social media can offer you 24/7 in the comfort of your home.
Those who have no social media presence most likely ask themselves, What does a person gain from having a social media presence? In no particular order:
• Staying in touch with family and friends
• Staying current with news and current events
• Finding entertaining content
• Networking (meet new people)
• Being part of communities of like-minded people who share a common value, mission, industry or goals
• Sharing photos and videos
• Sharing opinions
• Researching a business service, product, restaurant before visiting or purchasing
• You can be found (This can be a good thing, or a bad thing… you decide.)
In short social media brings the world to you. For what it’s worth social media has come a long way since the days of its birth (TRIVIA: The first social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users.) when it was the Wild West.
As I’m sure you’re aware, there are countless social networking sites, each having a unique characteristic and purpose. As an introduction, here are the social media platforms most people are currently gravitating to here in North America.
Facebook, with over 2.23 billion monthly active users (MAU), in April 2020, is undeniably the most widely used social network on the planet. All content format works great on Facebook. Facebook is where you can find old high school friends, join communities, read countless opinions, find current news, keep in touch with family and friends and post photos, videos and memes. Worth noting, the average amount of time a user spends on Facebook is 58 minutes.
Twitter (386 million MAUs, April 2020) is a microblogging site that allows you to send and receive short posts called “tweets.” Twitter’s simplicity, and ease of use, is why it’s my favorite social media platform. Tweets can be up to 280 characters long and can include pictures or links to websites. The usage of hashtags (#) is how your tweets can be found.
Instagram (1 billion MAUs, April 2020) is a visual platform designed for customers to post, share, and comment and engage through digital media (pictures, mini videos).
LinkedIn (310 million MAUs, February 2020) is regarded as a professional social networking site. If you make your living as a white-collar professional, your presence on LinkedIn is a must.
YouTube (1.9 billion MAUs, April 2020), Pinterest (366 million MAUs, April 2020) Reddit (430 million MAUs, April 2020) are additional social network sites worth checking out.
When it comes to first participating in social media, my advice is to pick a platform (Facebook would be a good one.), set up an account and dive right in! Don’t over analysis the pros and cons, you can always delete your account. Get someone who has grown up in the digital age to walk you through how to post and view content. Ask them to explain some of the social media ethics you should be familiar with.
When on social media, keep in mind the following:
• Do not post text, photos or videos that could damage your reputation.
• Do not post personal information.
• Do not trash-talk other people.
• Turn on your privacy settings.
• Have fun.
Is social media for you? Why not go online and find out?
~Nick Kossovan is the Customer Service Professionals Network’s Director of Social Media (Executive Board Member). Submit your social media questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected questions will be answered in future columns. Follow @NKossovan on Instagram and Twitter.