Social media, once a fad for college students, has evolved into a powerful form of real-time communication widely used by people of all ages, incomes and life circumstances.
In fact, the largest growth in social media use for any age group from 2011 to 2012 was 45- to 54-year-olds, according to data from market research firm Edison Research. What’s more, 55 percent of Americans in this age group now have a profile on a social networking site. Even three out of 10 Americans 55 and older have a profile on a social networking site.
When used correctly, social media can enable wealthy families and their businesses to market their brand, find new business opportunities and bring together family members. On the other hand, if families fail to approach social networking sites with caution and care, they might put themselves at risk of damaging their reputation and releasing private information.
Consider these six tips that may help keep your family protected in the world of social media:
1. Choose appropriate social networking sites based on their intended purpose and use.
Rather than becoming overwhelmed by the many different social media tools available, choose those whose purpose aligns with your goals or interests:
- Social networks like Facebook: Develop personal connections with others of similar interests and backgrounds, especially friends and family.
- Professional networks like LinkedIn: Connect with other professionals and recruit employees.
- Media sharing networks like YouTube: Upload, share and comment on various forms of media, such as videos.
- Blogs, vlogs and forums: Share information and participate in discussions, usually centered on a specific topic.
- Micro-blogging like Twitter: Share short updates (industry and educational news and trends, tools and tips, etc.).
2. Use social media to stay connected with family and friends.
By sharing information and photos via social media sites, family members around the world can feel intimately involved in one another’s lives. Because information can be posted in real time, family members also can feel like they’re part of the experience and can reply instantly.
In unfortunate situations like hurricanes and tornadoes, social media can allow you to tell family members that you’re safe and provide peace of mind for those not with you.