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Beginning to understand Social Media

The term *Social Media* applies to  sites on the web wherever there is a free exchange of ideas. I won't try to list all of them here, as there are so many, and besides, by the time I finish writing this, there will be several more.

The best place to start with understanding social media is Facebook. This is a site that allows anyone to post anything at anytime. Well, there are some limitations, but for the most part, it's a free exchange of ideas. Mostly those ideas are, of course, the ordinary and urbane things that we as human beings do, such as talk about our families, etc. If you have a Facebook account, you have a good idea of what a social media site is. If you don't, no explanation that I can do will suffice. You need to do it.

If you're reluctant to engage in social media, that's understandable. Social media is all about people who want to say things. In fact, if you just want to say a few short sentences, the social media site of choice is Twitter. Although it has recently been expanded, at its heart is the ability to say something short and sweet. Interesting enough, the vast majority of people do want to say something, even if it's just that they have a good dog. Social media allows people to speak out, and when it works well, it allows their voices to be heard.

For my clients, and myself, social media is about exposure. Exposure is the exact opposite of privacy. My clients do not want their products and services to remain a secret, they want to show it off. And if you look at social media as a way of *showing off* to the world, you've got it.

Exposure on social media, like any exposure, is all about showing your best face. No, you can't completely control your image in the media, and that has always been true. If you're a stinker, people will find out, and expose you. Don't be a stinker. If you're a reputable person, and company, show that off.

Once you are comfortable on the small stage of Facebook and Twitter, it will be time to step up to the big stage, Google+. Google+ takes all of the social media aspects and combines it with the optimization of its search engine. If you want to know more about Search Engine Optimization, Google it. And if you know what that means, you know that Google is the single most important search engine on the web. Notice that I didn't say, *look it up on a search engine*.

Making mistakes in social media is very embarrassing, and since the web is such a large stage, it's best to keep quiet if you really don't understand, and participate with care. The good news is that if you already know how to behave in a social environment (your mom should have taught you), you will be fine in social media. Just be yourself, and make it the best yourself that you can be!