When the social media revolution first began, many people looked at sites like Facebook and Twitter as not for them. Ironically, there were large groups of people that thought the same thing when the Internet first transitioned from the lab to the home computer. At that time many computer users did not recognize the inherent value of the web, and how the Internet could help them with everything from shopping to charitable outreach.
If you are making the same mistake with social media, now is the perfect time to get moving. Setting up a Facebook page, Instagram account and Twitter feed takes only minutes, and once you are online you will quickly see how valuable these services can be. Here are 5 reasons you should be using social media.
#1. Catch Up With Old Friends
Have you ever wondered what became of the gal or guy you took to the prom? Are you longing to talk to your childhood best friend or shoot the breeze with your first boyfriend or girlfriend? No matter who you want to catch up with or how far you want to take the relationship, social media sites like Facebook provide a valuable entry point.
People have been using Facebook to catch up with old friend sever since the social network first began. If you are not yet on Facebook, you will probably be astonished at the large number of friends just waiting to make contact.
#2. Learn New Things
You do not have to spend a fortune on college classes to learn new things. Social media is a great venue for learning opportunities of all kinds, from practical things like how to change a flat tire to more esoteric interests like art history and philosophy.
Video sharing sites are perfect for independent learning, as are sites like Facebook and Instagram. No matter what you want to know about, chances are there is a social media site where experts are sharing their knowledge.
#3. Build Your Brand and Your Career
We all know that most job placements take place not from the want ads but through networking. Building a professional network used to be difficult, requiring attendance at boring business functions and reaching out to people far and wide.
Things are far easier these days, thanks to the power of social media. Sites like LinkedIn are perfectly positioned for the serious networker, and even Facebook and Twitter have a role to play. Whether you are actively looking for a new position or just testing the strength of the local job market, you can do it through social media.
#4. Spread the Word About a Worthy Cause
Social media is a great medium for charitable endeavors of all stripes, from large-scale disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of a hurricane or tsunami to smaller and more personal issues like a loved one fighting cancer and dealing with high medical bills.
If there is a cause you feel passionate about it, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are the perfect venues for spreading the word and making others aware of the problem. Whether you launch a charitable fundraising page yourself or just point your friends to an existing one, you will feel great about the good work you are doing.
#5. KeepTabs on the Kids
If you are a parent, you should have an account on every social network your kids are a part of. Whether they favor Kik Messenger, SnapChat, Facebook or Twitter, you need to be there keeping a close eye on what they do and what they post.
Social networks are powerful communication tools, but they are also fertile hunting grounds for pedophiles and others up to no good. Setting firm ground rules is a good place to start, but there is no substitute for actually being there.
Social media is a valuable tool for both personal and professional use. If you are not yet taking advantage of the power of social media, do yourself a favor and take the time to set up your accounts and start learning the ropes.