Sunday, June 14, 2009

social networking for beginners

For me, it started with peak oil... it led me to doing research on the internet, which led me to my Meetup group, which led me to blogging, which led me to a career change, which brought me back to networking, and to my trusty blog again...

Last year, at the urging of my high school friends as we reconnected for a reunion I joined Facebook. My generation has mixed reviews about it. The biggest concern I hear from my friends who haven't joined is how much time it will take. But I only visit it every couple of weeks. I do enjoy hearing the updates from my friends and making comments. It's fun to stay in touch and say hi in a very non-obligatory way. It took me a long time to figure out how it all worked, cause I didn't spend very much time exploring it. You can have it search your Outlook, Yahoo and Google email accounts to see if people you know are on it, and then ask them to be friends with you. It will also suggest friends based on mutual friends that you know.

My older friends and family say that their generation is not participating on it, so there is no point for them to be on it because their friends aren't. But I think as their kids get on it, they do too, so the demographics are slowly changing.

I have recently learned of ways to link your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and update them all at once, which I will share at the end of this post, which cuts down on the time it takes to keep your network updated.

You have probably heard of Twitter. Think of it as a micro-blog or just the status update of a Facebook page. You choose who you are following on-line. Again, you can ask it to search your address books and start out by following people that you know. You can also search by key words with some applications that you can download to find people that share the same interests as you do. For me, the lightbulb went off when I thought of it as the blogosphere in miniature. I am slowly understanding that it is a way to have a conversation.

Here are some of the symbols that are used in posts, and what they mean:
  • @lizlogan: everybody's user name starts with an @, so the @ means you are talking to or about a specific user
  • #facilitator, or #green: # is called a hashmark, and it indicates a searchable term on This is one way to find people to follow.
  • L:Atlanta: L: indicates the location (and is usually more specific than Atlanta)
  •; these websites take long urls and make them shorter, allowing you to fit them into the 140 character format of the Twitter post
Here are some applications for Twitter that you can download:
This site will link Facebook and Twitter:

This site will enable you to update all your accounts at once: You can do it from your laptop, mobil, or set up an email account and send an email. Easy peasy!

This site will enable you to update all your accounts--and have them post in the future! www. It will also feed your blog posts into Twitter. And if you have already Pinged, it will not double post.

So here are your action items:
  1. Create a Facebook page (and add me as a friend--tell me you saw this blog post!)
  2. Create a Twitter account (and follow me--send me a message that you saw this blog post and I'll follow you)
  3. Create a Ping account
  4. Update your status once a day
  5. go to Facebook and Twitter once a week and read the status of your friends and write back
That's it! Stay connected, and reap the benefits that will come.

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