An introduction to Social Media for Families

I was asked to create a 5 minute presentation for a group as an introduction to Social Media and some of the dangers that can come along with it. I figured I would transpose a version here with a link to the presentation as it may be useful to others. To break it down and be able to go into more detail I have broken the presentation into a series of posts to clarify things a little bit more than what I was able to cover in a few short minutes on the presentation. You can take a look at the original presentation here.

An Introduction to Social Media: What is it?

Social Media is used to generate and stimulate conversations… about anything. and is now used by just about everyone. There are numerous platforms to get involved in Social Media and are used by friends, acquaintances, family members, business associates, churches, schools and just about any organization you can think of. An easier question to answer would be “Who doesn’t use Social Media?”. In fact, chances are that you and your family are already involved, voluntarily or not, in some form or another in social media. The valid question at this point is “Are you using it wisely”?

Types of Social Media

Social Media now covers a broad spectrum including

  • Blogs (web logs)
  • Instant Messaging
  • Community Sites (My Space, Facebook, Google +)
  • Microblogs (Twitter)
  • Image Share (Flickr, Pinterest)
  • Video Share (YouTube, Vimeo)
  • Location Sharing (Four Square)
  • Business Networks (LinkedIn)

Social Media Isn’t Going Away

“We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.” – Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics

How well are you using Social Media. I’m not referring to how much money or friends are you making on social media. I’m referring to how wise and prudent are you and your family using Social Media? Do you understand the platforms and media that your children are inherently engaged in?

What Does This Mean for our Family?

With Social Media interaction already all over the place, the question from parents are stacking up. Should they let their children have a Facebook page? Who or what will they find? What good can come from it? Just like other forms of media, Social media can be a powerful communication tool which can enlighten, uplift and help us do more than we could have before. However, used incorrectly it can demoralize, hinder and become a stumbling block for a healthy daily lifestyle.

Social Media is only going to become more a part of our everyday lives. We find social media in things like our cars, televisions, cell phones, tablets, appliances and are becoming more a vital part of the school, business and shopping experiences. As parents it’s important to know what it is and not simply put it aside as something belonging to the younger generation. By helping our children understand it, what to watch out for and how to use it properly we can help them harness the power of Social Media correctly.

In the following series post I’ll go into more detail on what makes social media so good and on the flip-side what can make it so bad.

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