Social neworking needs to make sense for YOU

by | life online, social networking

I taught a social media class with @SueRostvold last night and one of the issues that kept coming up was the idea of sharing too much through social networking websites. What we were hearing is that some people are afraid to do anything with social media because they don’t want to reveal too much of their personal life. They don’t want their everyday activities, personal choices, feelings, or secrets to be ‘out there’ for everybody and his brother to read.

I get the same comment from people quite often actually. For people just getting started with social networking, it can be a bit frightening. Stories that we hear on the news about wierdo online stalkers don’t help matters much either.

One of the many cool things about social networking is that there really is no one right way to go about it. Think about your friends in real life. No doubt you have some who, when they walk in a room, are bigger than life and everybody knows they’ve arrived and the party can start! In contrast you may be the type that quietly walks into that very same room and says hello to a few people you know well. What feels right for one person may terrify the heebee jeebies out of another. But the thing is, nobody expects every one to act the same way when they get together in that room. The same is true when it comes to revealing things about yourself online with social networking.

The thing is, you only need to share what you feel comfortable sharing. I usually tell people to set up their account – whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or whatever – and then ease into it. Just because you go online and have an account on a social media site where people share their drunken images and intimate details, it doesn’t mean you need to. If you feel more comfortable just looking around for a while, then that’s what you should do. When you feel comfortable, say hello to people you know, share an article you found online you think is interesting, or comment on something someone says.

As you learn your way around, you may feel comfortable revealing a little bit more about yourself and find a way to do it that makes sense for you. It’s all up to you.

[Tags]social networking, social media, life online[/Tags]

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