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The SocialNetworking- Active Single
Most or all of you have at least some knowledge of online social networking. Perhaps you have signed up for a site or have a fairly strong presence on more than one. Either way, you may know that three of the most well known are MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. There are many others as well, and depending upon your age and interests, you may want to go online and check them all out. The only word of caution that I will offer is that they can be both very time consuming and addictive. Therefore, consider looking them over and checking to see which ones are most popular with your friends and peers, then choosing only 1 or 2 to start. I do recommend twitter for its streamlined and easy to use format and great popularity.
Once you have become a member of a site, spend some time getting acquainted with it. Many sites have a lot of features that users never touch because they don't even know of their existence or haven't spent the time to learn about them. Try setting aside one-half to one hour a day learning about the site, finding friends and posting/responding to posts. Many people go online during daytime hours, but be careful that your company does not have a policy prohibiting this or access to the information in your workplace computer.
If you are already "networking active," you may want to consider making changes to your pages, working on your posting style and content, and/or getting more proactive in how you network. People are using these sites for personal and professional purposes, and if you are single--you could create a page that helps you build professional contacts and connect with new and like-minded singles. There are articles and workshops springing up that help people to use these sites more effectively. At the very least, consider doing some reading on this topic as well as observing how successful online networkers do it.
Think carefully about the pictures you post and the information you choose to share. More and more employers and schools/institutions of higher learning are going online to social networking sites and using them to screen out potentially problem people. Perspective dates will also look you up to see if you really are who you say you are and/or to learn more about you. Don't put any information out in cyber space that you wouldn't want you family to see. If you do decide to delete something, remember that it will be difficult to erase it forever. The viral nature of cyberspace releases your information to anyone who wants to pick it up and copy or transmit it. However, the sooner you act to erase something, the less likely it will be seen by others.
Remember that this is social networking. Think of a site as a big room full of people you don't know, but would like to. How would you approach this? Would you stand up on a chair and shout out your feelings or utter random comments about yourself, your interests, etc? Or would you try to connect first with one or two people by commenting on something they said or asking a question that leaves an opening for them to respond and connect? Come up with an approach that works for you and stick with it. Remember that it is OK to decline friend requests and delete friends who behave inappropriately or create any discomfort for you. There are also options to keep your page private, however this will keep potential new friends from being able to read your profile and decide if you are someone they would like to get to know.
As your list of friends grows, their friends will also come into your orbit. It is not uncommon for a fiend of a friend to send you a friend request, or for old classmates and childhood friends to find you through a mutual acquaintance. Be open to the possibilities, clear about what you are looking for, and responsive to the postings of others. You could develop a rich virtual social network that could lead to new real time friendships and/or a new love.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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