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Its a Social World

By Richard Churchill – First Published January 2011

The technical innovation of the last 10 years has been the group of technologies known as “social media”. At the turn of the century the idea of keeping up with what your friends are doing week by week via the internet was barely considered, now it is is possible (if you want) to keep up with your friends activities on a minute by minute basis.

So what do those in the know mean by social media? Good luck finding two people who agree. Social media seems to be anything that involves a few basic themes, sharing what you are doing , sharing photographs, videos and discussing pretty much everything. There is nothing new in these activities, they happen where ever you have a group of people, the new bit is it is now happening on a global scale.

That’s the theory done, so how do you actually use this? The two most famous social websites are Twitter and Facebook, both in different ways allow you to gather a group of friends and then share information. You then have sites like flikr, youtube and picasa web that allow you to share and discuss pictures and videos. One other new thing is that all these sites will allow you to share information from one to the others so the discussion can flow with out borders.

When talking about social media it is also important to talk about personal security. The temptation is to share more and more information, after all it’s your friends that are reading it, and you trust them, don’t you? And even then its only trivial stuff you are giving away, like it’s your birthday, how old you are, what your parents and grand parents names are, etc. Before you know it you have given away enough information to fill in a credit application form, oops. So you need to think about what you are sharing, and who you are sharing it with, find out how to control who can see your information.

While there are pitfalls and it is easy to have lazy friendships, the new social technologies make maintaining good friendships easier, and provide a daily source of news and gossip to rival the newspapers, so give it a try.

Going further

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