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If you are not currently on social media, I am impressed!…and honestly a little jealous. You probably have a more positive perception of yourself, are less frustrated throughout your day, and have a lot more time on your hands. Although, if you are one of the declining few that have resisted the urge, you are probably still using dial-up internet and a flip phone…and aren’t reading this article anyway!

For the majority of us, we have gotten sucked into the world of likes, thumbs up, hearts, comments, political rants, and cat videos…and it can be overwhelming. “Like” it or not, social media has become the digital fabric that connects us to one another…and if used correctly, can be an incredibly valuable business platform.


Although it would take several articles to cover all the ins and outs of all of the social media outlets vying for your attention, let’s go over some general do’s and don’ts:


Although there are a number of social media outlets in existence (and more developing daily), let’s see if we can overview the key players in the business world…and highlight some specific dos and don’ts of engagement.

LinkedIn: Although it may not be the sexiest of social media platforms (and may not have the broad marketing appeal you are looking for), LinkedIn is specifically designed to foster professional relationships, employment opportunities, and the sharing of industry information…making it a safe outlet for business ventures. Businesses and business persons should create an account and begin connecting to others in the field. Share articles and ideas, post job opportunities within your company, and provide professional comments on the work that others are doing. Nice, safe, professional social media.

Twitter: Originally started in 2006 as a social messaging/texting service, it has become an incredibly popular service for sharing quick/short updates/statements (aka, tweets) with the world. Originally limited to 140 characters, the service and character count (now 240) have grown significantly. Whether you are posting as an individual or business, this is a great way of providing your followers with quick, regular information (e.g., hiring, office closures, sales/specials).

“I know you put a pill. in my rolled up cheese slice. i’m not mad about it. i would simply appreciate it. if you would be honest with me next time”

Facebook: I probably don’t have to tell you much about this service, as it is huge, and I am sure you either have experience with it or have heard a lot about it. Given the number of people that are on Facebook, it is a great way to connect with those that you don’t see in person on a regular basis and share memories, photos, well-wishes, etc. However, this popularity has also created somewhat of a “wild west” of social media, where seemingly anything goes, and you can easily find yourself making missteps or falling down the rabbit hole! 

Social media can be an extremely helpful outlet to receive news, connect with family & friends, share ideas, and even find a new job…but choose your posts/comments/likes wisely, as your reputation can depend on it!

Oh, and one more thing…did you happen to read last month’s technology article (“Passwords. Can’t live with them…Can’t live without them…Can’t remember them!”)? If so, were you able to figure out the password riddle?


Hint: The password represents a combination of a movie quote, the ‘author’ of the quote, and day of the year you would probably see the movie.  Oh, and a decoder ring might help!

The answer is….drumroll….

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine! Little Orphan Annie, 12-24.

(the secret message from Little Orphan Annie that was decoded with Ralphie’s secret decoder ring in A Christmas Story……which we know plays over and over every Christmas Eve, 12-24!)

If you figured that out, BRAVO! If not, I am guessing you probably won’t forget it now…which means I have to go and change my password now.

-Brian Jackson, PhD
Professor and Technology Enthusiast