Easy Networking. . . (Social Networking Pt. 2)

For the Lord grants wisdom!    From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
~Proverbs 2:6 (NLT)
      Social networking is a great way to make connections with people you wouldn't ordinarily meet, to find out about events and activities that might interest you, and to create an online presence for your ministry or products such as books, garments, classes or conferences. And, it's completely free! However, as with any online service, there are many things to be aware of.

     Before joining any networking group, consider how you want to present yourself and your product. Do you want to identify yourself with your real name, a pseudonym or trade name? Many people choose not to use their real names on social networks such as Facebook (TM) for privacy reasons and opt to use a unique name that is associated with what they do. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as you: (1) Are not using the pseudonym to deceive others, and (2) Do your research to make sure that there aren't several other entities with that same name; in that case you can use an alternate spelling or variation of that name. When choosing a name, make sure it's one that you want to keep indefinitely, as some online connections may delete you from their directories if they can't identify the strange name that shows up on their friend list!

     Familiarize yourself with the privacy settings on your network. All postings are public by default, so learn how to customize your pages to be sure that only those who you want to see your information can view it. On Facebook, you can make your posts and pictures completely public, visible to Friends only, Friends except acquaintances, Only Me (visible only to you), or invisible to certain people (restricted) .The same goes for your profile information and Friend list. You can restrict your profile from public searches in your privacy settings, if that's important to you.  You can also block people whom you would prefer not to see any of your information on the network. To promote your products, you can open a Fan Page and send out announcements from there about your books or events. Postings on a fan page are always public, to get information to as many people as possible.  Go to the Help section on Facebook to learn more about privacy settings, and how to start up a fan page.

     One of the biggest mistakes people make on Facebook is using it as their primary source for interacting with others. Remember that social media is only a networking tool for introducing yourself to a wide group of people who share common interests, not your whole life! It's not necessary to post every detail of your day no matter what you see others sharing.  A social network is never a replacement for personal interactions with others. Don't get caught in the trap of hiding behind postings that create a false image of who you really are, or be concerned with how many "likes" you get on a post.  Be sure that the content that you post really reflects your values and not what people expect of you. Prepare for others to disagree if you post an opinion that is different to theirs, and don't take it personally when their comments are not supportive of you. If someone posts something that is offensive to you, it's best to remove their content and block them to avoid conflict.

    A caveat: Never click on any link that tells you that you've been tagged in a video, such as: "OMG is this you?" It's always connected to a scam that hacks not only your account, but can attach itself to everyone's account in your personal network. In general, be cautious about any app that requests access to your profile information. If you wouldn't give this information to a stranger you met on the street, then don't allow an app to have it either.

     These are only a few pointers to get you started using social media, or to help you along if you've already begun your trek into the world of cyber-networking. Use it to your advantage, but always be wise!

     If you would like to learn more about how to secure your Facebook account, here's a link to Facecrooks.com:


*Facebook, Facecrooks.com, Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn are registered trademarks...and the use of these examples is not an endorsement of any of the above...use them responsibly, and at your own risk.