What You Can Learn From Social Media

Social Media has become an inextricable part of our culture, for better or worse. One thing is for certain: every one of us learned something from social media this past year, whether it was how to spread the word about important issues or how to safeguard our personal data.

Connect 2014

Social Media Can Be An Instrument of Change

Over the course of this year, social media really proved its mettle. Thanks to several high-profile campaigns, sites like Facebook and Twitter rose above being used merely as trifling distractions and were instead leveraged as powerful tools for spreading awareness of important social and political concerns.

Social Media Is a Visual Medium

Whether you’re an amateur blogger, a small business owner, or a professional online marketer, one thing we all learned is that social media campaigns need to be visual to be successful.

It was a big year for Twitter, and they helped to drive this point home. This was the year that Twitter launched Vine, the mobile-centric social site for sharing six-second videos. It went on to post huge gains in its user base.

Twitter also allowed for images to be displayed in users’ feeds, rather than just showing up as an unattractive link.

“Second Screens” Are Here to Stay

It’s no secret: people are now accustomed to using their smartphones to text, tweet, and post pictures during TV shows and sporting events. It’s actually become something of a phenomenon; social media and second screens have given us the ability to relive major television events from thousands of different vantage points.

The Internet Isn’t Getting Any Safer

It would be nice to think that, as technology improves, our digital lives would actually be getting safer as time goes on. Instead, the exact opposite is true: our personally identifying data is now more susceptible to theft than ever before.

This applies to social media in a number of ways. To begin with, it’s a startling reminder not to use the same password for all of your social accounts. If one account gets hacked, and they’ve all got the same password, the rest of your accounts could fall like a house of cards. With a new year coming, let’s all resolve to take cyber security just a little more seriously.

Don’t Post in Anger

We’ve probably all posted something on a social media site out of anger. It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and share something that we later wish we hadn’t. A waitress at Applebee’s discovered in 2013 that posting out of anger could lead to unintended consequences.

After the pastor she was serving refused to give her a tip (“I give God 10%; Why do you get 18%?”), the waitress snapped a photo of the receipt and posted it all over the Internet. It became a viral sensation, and when her manager found out that she had posted so-called “personal information” publicly, she was fired.

To call the pastor’s actions “disrespectful” might be an understatement, but the fact remains: a lesson to take away from this is to think twice before you post in anger. It might feel good to vent, but the consequences can sometimes be severe.

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