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article imageOp-Ed: Smarter social media users

By Charlie Profit     Jun 16, 2013 in Entertainment
I've been following Social Media for a long time. I was on LinkediN in 2005, Facebook 2006, Twitter 2007, and Google+ 2009.
I was an early adopter to Ping.FM, SocialOomph, Seesmic, and Hootsuite. Then I saw how many others were doing the same, calling themselves experts or gurus and I realized there eventually would be a backlash from consumers from being cheated. Now the marketplace has become over-saturated with these "experts". With an industry so new, I do not see how there can be experts especially when the "rules" keep changing and new networks sprout up. I am not an expert or guru. However I do have some knowledge I'd like to share.
Let me tell you what I see happening. It is not social media fatigue, as some "industry watchers" are proclaiming. There are certainly some who are fatigued, but the majority are just going to get smarter in how they use social media. People will cut their time on Facebook down from hours spent to minutes spent. People are going to figure out how these social media sites fit in with their lives, without the need to spend hours reading and sharing stupid memes or getting into political arguments (guilty of doing this).
Facebook actually has a number of controls to filter out the crap you don't want to see, yet you currently put up with because you don't know how to use them. And most "gurus" don't talk about these controls because if you learn how to use them, social media will not be the playground it is for marketers and these "gurus". One of these tricks is to choose the type of messages you see from each of your friends. For example, you can only show status updates or only important news, and block games.
Twitter has less controls but you can still learn how to use it more effectively most of the time. Twitter allows users to create up to 20 lists of users you follow. You can also follow others lists. So, if you are into a special niche, you can create a lists of users to read and engage with. You don't even have to follow them, just put them on a list. To narrow things down even further, you can follow a specific topic using what is called a hash tag, or "#". This can reduce your time spent consuming social media because you are only reading the posts that relate to the topic you are interested in.
Google+ is the easiest because you create circles of people you follow. There are no limits. You can also search a specific topic to follow and Google let's you save the search for easy future reference.
In my opinion, the more you understand how to use the sites, the better social media user you are, the better you are able to manage your time online and the more productive you become. As you start to realize just how much time is being sucked out of your life by being online you will start to look for better ways. Let me know when you get to that point. I'll be here to help you.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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