Long distance communication used to be difficult. Not today. We may be miles apart from our loved ones physically, but through technology and social media, we are able to connect with them virtually. Social media and technology are able to bridge the gaps, bring us closer together and maintain communication regularly.
The Rise of Social
The term social media was relatively unknown some years ago. But now, it has become part and parcel of our daily vocabulary. In layman's terms, social media is any kind of communications technology that focuses on community and collaboration. Or simply put, these are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and a whole bunch of other platforms. The first major age of social media is attributed to the early 2000's with the creation of blogging site LiveJournal and chat platforms like ICQ. From there, collaborative websites like Wikipedia, Friendster, and MySpace paved the way for later giants like Facebook and Twitter. Social media has evolved to become subsequently more multimedia, which has led to the rise of image and video-based sites like Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
What Does Social Media Do?
Every social media platform has the power to affect people in many ways. Some reconnect with estranged family members and lost friends over Facebook messages and Google+ chats. Some exchange ideas and participate in social movements through Twitter hashtags and Tumblr essays. Businesses promote their brands through carefully curated Instagram photos and clever WordPress blogs. Entertainers may gain an audience through viral Vine videos or Youtube tutorials. Social media affects people by connecting them with one another, blurring the lines of physical space, bringing us closer together.
Tips to Ensure Social Media Safety
With exposure comes risk. Before you cannonball too deeply into social media, consider the following tips to protect your online safety.
- Understand Your Privacy Settings
Every social media platform allows you to toggle how private and public you want your content and personal information to be. Before you post, share, or upload anything, scrutinize these settings first. Facebook, for example, allows you to attach different posts to tiers of privacy: Public, Friends, Friends and Their Friends, Custom, etc.
- Think Before Posting
Once the proverbial cat is let out of the bag, it can be impossible to get it back in. Even if you post a tweet or status or photo that you later delete, the Internet still makes it easy for others to screenshot or otherwise record that information before it’s deleted. Don't release private information and unprofessional messages to your audiences. Remember, once it’s out on the Internet, it’s out there forever.
- Sharing Location Has Risks
Thanks to the rising popularity of location-based applications like Foursquare, many other social media platforms have integrated location-recognition into their systems. Unless you want unknown others to easily access your location and travel habits, turn these preferences off.
- Secure Passwords
Don't duplicate passwords between websites and make sure your passwords are hard to guess. Use a combination of capital letters, numbers and symbols.
Social Media for Military Spouses
If you're looking to find community through military social media, you can find connections and information in these social media directories for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and the U.S. Coast Guard.