Archive for 'Social Networking'

Social Media may not be for everyone, but when I hear someone say “I don’t care what people had for breakfast!” I can’t help but think they don’t have the full picture.  So here’s my list of ways that Social Media sites (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube) enhance the day-to-day lives of people who love it. And I couldn’t keep it to 10 – had to go with 11!   I’ll top off the list with some cautionary tips.

  1. Stay connected with distant (and busy!) family without long-distance and time-consuming phone calls (and playing phone tag).
  2. Reconnect with friends from your past without having to attend your reunion. Most social sites have tools to help you do this.
  3. Get instant updates from school mom networks when emergencies arise at your children’s school.
  4. Career connections –Your former supervisor could be the connection to your next job!
    Be found (or ‘found out’ !) as a potential candidate by companies searching for employees on social sites such as LinkedIn.
  5. Own a business? Establish relationships and credibility – more cost-effective than traditional advertising, great potential for reaching YOUR target market.  It’s a great way to develop relationships  over time – a long term strategy.
  6. Causes-Keep up with causes you care about but don’t have a lot of time for. From political, social, and legal causes to conservation, fundraising, and awareness.
  7. Support, Fellowship,and Information:  Find groups in the socialsphere that help you feel like you’re not alone.  Moms, book writers, divorcees, veterans, dieters, medical issues of every kind, accident victims, crime victims, addicts (but remember the public nature of social), job seekers, travelers, musicians, entrepreneurs, hobbyists – just to mention a few!
  8. Learning-There is so much out there to learn – and so much of it is free. Find lectures and webinars on topics of interest to you.
  9. Know the new. “Listen” to what people are saying about trending topics that are “now.”
  10. Entertainment-Games, pictures, videos, stories – some of it is just pure entertainment!
  11. Ask a question – get 50 responses!

CAUTION – 4 things you NEVER want to do on social media

Do NOT ignore your Privacy settings – know where they are and how to remove yourself from a site if you need to.

Do NOT send money to someone who has contacted you through a social site – even a “friend” – without speaking to them by telephone or some other method outside of the site where they contacted you.

Do NOT post anything you don’t want to be public knowledge.  What you post is public and can be viewed by insurance companies, law enforcement, judges, and prospective employers. Not to mention your mom.  😉

Do NOT assume that news posts are true. Plenty of fake online news stories lure people in with sensational headlines in order to drive traffic to underhanded web marketers.  Consider the source. Is it from or

Let us know how Social Media makes YOUR life better!

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Note from Melissa: I wanted to share this article about ID thieves and social networking.

By Sid Kirchheimer, AARP Bulletin June 2009

When Bryan Rutberg first appeared on Facebook last December, he joined millions of other boomers, who are the fastest-growing users of social networking websites.

A month later, the 47-year-old tech industry executive became a victim of a scam that is increasingly occurring on websites like Facebook, MySpace and class reunion sites.

On Jan. 21, Rutberg discovered his Facebook page had been hacked with this alarming message: BRYAN IS IN URGENT NEED OF HELP! He tried to access his page to remove the warning, but his password had been changed. When he tried to alert his friends from his wife’s Facebook account that he was OK, he says, the scammer had “de-friended” her, blocking any messages he sent. Meanwhile, Rutberg’s Facebook friends who had posted “what’s wrong?” messages were getting replies from the hacker, who posed as Rutberg and claimed that he had been robbed in London and needed money to get home.

One concerned friend, Beny Rubinstein, wired $1,200 overseas, which the trickster quickly collected. In e-mail exchanges, the hacker had provided enough personal details to convince Rubinstein he was Rutberg. “If you’re looking to impersonate someone, Facebook is a good place to start,” Rutberg says. “My page has the names and photographs of my wife, kids, parents, friends, where I went to high school and college—all kinds of personal information.”

With such details readily posted, identity thieves “are clearly investing time and resources on social networks,” says Ryan Naraine of Kaspersky Lab, an online security firm.

A common ruse: tricking users into downloading a program that records their keystrokes. It’s likely that Rutberg inadvertently downloaded one such program, providing his Facebook e-mail and password to the identity thief.

One common virus on social networks is called Koobface (from the word “Facebook”), which infects computers when a “video” link is clicked. It can steal personal data and also prompt users to download an updated version of Adobe Flash. “By clicking on that link, it attempts to trick you into buying fake antivirus software for $30,” Naraine says.

Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt says that in five years, less than 1 percent of 200 million users had “security issues.” He says his company has bolstered its efforts to respond quickly to such problems. However, Facebook provides no phone contact number for members, and Rutberg says e-mails to Facebook reporting his hacking went unanswered for several days.

To avoid problems on social networks—or anywhere else online:

• Don’t click on links provided in messages—even from friends—unless you check them with a phone call or off-website e-mail.

• Get program updates by going to the company’s website, not through a provided link.

• Make your Facebook account private so that only friends can see your details.

• Scan your computer regularly with an updated antivirus program

• Be suspicious of anyone—even a “friend”—who asks for money over the Internet.

Report suspicious activity on social networks to that website and to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life (AARP Books/Sterling).

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