2017-11-01 / Community

Social media – magic or madness?

John Capurso

Whether you use social media apps like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram or if you scoff at the all-consuming use, one thing is for certain. It is not going away anytime soon. But if you’re interested in social media, if perhaps you’ve not yet taken a big plunge or you just want to know more about what’s out there, here are some of the more popular apps:

Facebook, the largest and most popular social media experience on the planet, was restricted to college users in 1994. Today 2 billion people actively use Facebook as their core online social network, sharing photographs, experiences and event details. You can find everything from individuals’ self-help tips to pages by huge companies that promote their products. Without question, Facebook uses the size and reach of its audience to garner immense advertising and other revenue (more than $27 billion last year).

Instagram is a photo sharing app at its core, like a huge photo album. This app is also very popular among amateur photographers as a forum to share their photos and to view others’ photos.

Twitter is a news and social network in which users share comments and updates called tweets that are restricted to 140 characters. Users can also share web addresses and photos in their tweets. By following key news sites and people, I find Twitter to be a great news summary.

Pinterest is an app best described as a collection of ideas, a virtual cork board where you can grab and save ideas from the web such as photos of travel destinations, crafts, recipes, clothing, wedding plans, etc.

Snapchat is at its simplest a photo sharing app. The photos are viewed and then soon gone. Snapchat is very popular because it doesn’t clutter your phone or require much interaction. Just look and move on. Snapchat also uses geo-filters, which are captions and little graphics that label your photo location, like Hollywood or Central Park, and facial filters, like the cute dog ears it can superimpose on your photo.

YouTube is the largest video sharing app. It is truly limitless what you can post and learn from YouTube. You’ll find DIY videos, interviews, music, movie and news clips, etc. You can watch others’ experiences and/or upload your own videos. You can also stumble across weirdness.

The controversy and caution with social media is using it appropriately, meaning not oversharing, not shaming others, certainly not abusing or bullying anyone and not spending excessive time in this digital world. It can be fun as an online extension of your life but it comes with many pitfalls.

One last thought: If you want to better connect with your kids or grandkids, consider using the social media tools they use. They will be impressed and will likely share their experiences with you.

Tech Question?

If you have a tech question, email it to capurso@swspotlight.com and John Capurso may answer it in this column.

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