At first, some social media may not seem useful to people who aren’t interested in promoting a business, building a customer base, or searching for employment, but this just isn’t true. Facebook, of course, is the go-to way to connect with people you know from your present and your past. But there are other great ways of connecting that offer the chance to meet new people in the virtual world.

Twitter is a fabulous tool for meeting new people who share your interests in everything from high fashion to organic farming. The 140 character format makes it quick and easy to catch up with those that you’re following, and gives you the opportunity to share your updates without having to be too clever with words – though a well-composed tweet can be quite entertaining, as you can see here on post. There are weekly chats, such as the one hosted by Jodi Okun called #collegecash, during which she facilitates conversations about all areas of college life, from the application process to the ins and outs of financial aid. I find Twitter to be a great way to link up with people I would never have met IRO (or in real life, for you social media newbies). I’ve found advice, information, personal connections, writing opportunities and more. You can look here to learn the basics of getting started on Twitter.

Winter vegetable torte recipe courtesy Pinterest

Pinterest takes elements of both Facebook and Twitter and mixes them up with visual interest.  It has become the hot new place to be in social media. I’ve only been “pinning” for a few months, but it’s hugely fun and very entertaining. Pinterest is designed for people to share things using photos, how-to instructions, and links to websites in categories both generic, such as “for the home” and specific, which they create themselves – “paths, trails and roads,” for example. In essence, Pinterest is a great big scrapbook that allows you to meander through anyone’s personal favorites. In addition, Pinterest offers another avenue of social media for businesses to promote their products and services in a very simple, easy to access and approachable format. Here is an introduction to basics of Pinterest.

Diaper baby shower cake courtesy Pinterest

What’s fascinating about Pinterest is the broad range of interests that people share. There’s a lot about weddings and babies, which makes sense since social media is in many ways still very much a younger person’s milieu – there are literally thousands upon thousands of “mommy” blogs out there – but there’s a lot of very esoteric and unique items on this virtual pinboard, too. For those who like to cook, there are a multitude of recipes to try. If you like crafting, there’s some amazing creations to see and possibly attempt yourself.  The best part is that you don’t have to be following people in order to see their boards. You can see thousands of different pins from people around the globe, just by looking in the “everything” section. If someone likes something you post, they can either “like” or “repin” it, and you can do the same, creating a connection to new people instantly. For example I have a passion for interior design, and I really enjoy finding unique and special decorative items and room tableaux to share. I recently pinned one of my favorite movies, “Moonstruck,” and it was repinned at least 2 dozen times within an hour. There are lots of little quotes and sayings, some of which are pretty funny-


and some of which are fairly profound. 

Pinterest is fun, it’s pretty, and it’s super easy to do. If you’re looking for a way to expand your involvement in social media, or if you’re new to the idea, this is a great and simple way to get started. And if you want to see what my pinterests are, here is the link:

Social media has become an integral part of the way we communicate, share ideas, and meet new people, and it will only get more important as time goes on and our virtual world becomes more and more a part of our daily lives. Once you get past the initial oddity of making friends and connecting with others who you may never actually meet, you’ll find it’s just another way to expand your world and discover others who share your interests, your passions, and your opinions.  Give it a try!

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