There is a social networking phenomenon spreading across the Internet, but are you well prepared and ready to dive in with Social Media ? Here are a few things that you should be aware of before you jump in with both feet.
This post is not a recommendation to avoid joining social media. Clearly, there is nothing I could say, or any one else for that matter, to stop people from joining social networking sites.
I do recommend that you look before you leap. It is important to understand the basics of social networking before you get involved, just like any other online activity. It may save you some grief, or disappointment later.
First of all, if you have the expectation that by joining one or more social networking sites, suddenly you will immediately be able to advertise your opportunity, or your business, to thousands of new prospects, you are sadly mistaken.
Most people use Google to get information, but people use social networking sites to connect with other people. Most social media sites are sort of like a street fair. You never know who is going to show up, but you know there will be a lot of people there.
Advertising for the most part, is frowned upon, and you will not make friends by continuously trying to pitch something on social networking sites. There is a way to use social networking to develop business contacts, but it has to be done properly, and each social networking site is a little bit different, in terms of how you approach it. In a nutshell, you need a good plan that respects the particular social networking system that you use.
If you go about web site promotion in a careless or haphazard way, you might get banned from a site. This can happen more easily on a social networking sites, than on Google. The best advice is to learn and follow the rules of each site, and you can have a rewarding and profitable experience.
It was revealed recently, that Twitter is actually saving all tweets in their system, (although they cannot be accessed right now). Read Write Web’s article
Confirmed: Twitter is Saving All Your Tweets, After All that discusses this information provided by Twitter.
The safest way to use Social Networking sites is to assume that all of the information recorded there will be stored for generations of your descendants to view. It is best to think of any of this information as permanent. You can remove information on your site, but you may never be able to remove information you send to someone else.
There are potential implications of this information that you should be aware of. If you apply for a job, any information on the Internet that appears under a search for your name as well as social networking information can be viewed by a potential employer. Did you know that if you are called as a juror, this information can also be used ?
The same is true if you are called to testify in a trial of any kind. If the information is on the Internet, it can be used in any court of law. These are probably things that most people never think of. If more people were aware of the long term implications of their social networking information, they would probably be a little more careful about the kind of information they post online.
It could be something an innocent as a comment about a former employer to a friend. If you have been given severance pay from the company that gave you a termination, or layoff notice, you may have signed a document that forbids you from criticizing the company, revealing any confidential or proprietary information, and from revealing any of the details of your severance package. Don’t make a mistake and discuss any of those details whatsoever, online. It is probably good advice not to talk about any former employers in any way, online.
On the other hand, I would highly encourage anyone who has broken the law to discuss the specific details of your criminal activities online. You will be doing a great public service. It is likely that you will suddenly find yourself with many new friends in law enforcement. The vast majority of these people are hard-working, honest people, and if you don’t divulge your criminal activities online, you may never have a chance to meet them.
My advice to criminals online, is to please take advantage of as many social networking sites as possible to explain all of your criminal activities. I have heard that Craig’s List is especially effective for this purpose.
Another word about cancellation of your social networking account. For some sites, if you decide to cancel you account, it is relatively easy, and they will delete your information. Don’t just assume, however, that all your information will be deleted automatically. One thing it seems is common to most sites. It is unlikely you will ever be able to register with the same e-mail address again. You will have to use a different one. Here is a great article from PC magazine on how to gracefully bow out of many different social networking sites.