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Juliet McEwen Johnson
Whatever nefarious intention Mark Zuckerberg had when he originated Facebook, the social media site works best as a “book” that links a name to a face. Twitter arrived with a 140 character minimum to get the word out quickly and for short, efficient exchanges with other key people in your sphere. Google wants a social network to get to you know better such that their search returns fit you perfectly. Pinterest enables a filing system for inspirational, lushly colored imagery for dream-boarding, reference and future use. And then we have LinkedIn. The oldest member of today’s top 5 social media networks in the US.
LinkedIn launched in 2003, built as a professional network by Reid Hoffman and some of the founders of PayPal. It is a virtual BNI (Business Network International) best used for reputation management, live demonstration of superior expertise, and for networking in the traditional business sense. You want your fullest story out there on LinkedIn, so that former coworkers can find you and reconnect. Jobs you might not put on your resume because they are no longer relevant to what you are looking to do moving forward should still be on LinkedIn as it adds to your story of what makes the whole you unique. LinkedIn is the “yeah me” site where you are supposed to post your awards and recognition certificates. This is the network where prospects, future employers, potential partners and investors will find you. Tell them how it is.
A similar focus need to be in play on Google+. Since Google uses all of the information you put into it to get to know you, you will want to honestly and authentic share who you are. This is not in a big brother, spooky sense but simply because of search. The relevance of search results for “how to grow tomatoes” will vary considerably for a crop producer in New Jersey vs. a lady in a retirement community hoping for a useful plant to offer a bit of shade from a sunny window. The more you help Google, the more they help you.
Facebook is a platform to socially interact and connect. Even if that connection is just reminding you which person that was that you just met. It’s about your face – and your public persona. While your cat may be important to you, it doesn’t help anyone connect your name to a face unless you tend to take that cat everywhere you go and always hold it up in front of your face when being introduced to someone new.
Twitter may well be allowing longer posts now, but no-one wants to be bothered with a second click. A concise informative 140 characters that ignites a conversation is what the platform was designed for and yields way better results.
Pinterest is just curation: collecting together images that speak to you on a variety of levels that you categorize by board so that you can find them again. By sharing these ideas, desires, dreams and inspirations with others, you contribute to a greater, organic community. Where that ultimately takes you remains to be seen. For now, this is a happy neighborhood of “love that”, “cute”, “I’m so doing that this weekend” and other positive engagement.
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