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The Social Media Landscape

Learn how to improve your digital fluency by using different platforms in the social media landscape for personal or professional use.

Back to Smithville Smart: Digital Fluency Series

The social media landscape has become an integral part of modern communication, as it enables users to communicate with others across the globe. These online platforms enable other users to create and exchange user-generated content, such as text, images, videos, and links, often in real-time. It has significantly transformed the way people share information and engage with others, making it a powerful tool for both personal and business communication.

Facebook

Facebook is one of the earlier platforms that helped establish the social media landscape. It is a social media network that is accessible through a website or app. It allows users to communicate and share content with other users, also known as “friends.” Since its launch in 2004, Facebook has developed a multitude of features that give users opportunities to create content, sell items, play games, and more.

Profile

Creating a profile on Facebook is simple. Go to https://www.facebook.com, select “Create new account,” and fill in the details. You can even use your new Gmail. Once you fill in this information, you can start setting up your profile page! Personalize your page by uploading a profile picture, filling in the details of your bio, adding friends, and following pages.

Reminder: Customize your privacy settings to determine which profile information is visible to the public.

Post

A post is something that you create and share on your newsfeed. Your Facebook friends can see and interact with these posts. Common types of posts include text status, images, videos, links, life events, and location check-ins.

The newsfeed is where you can view posts made by your friends and the pages you follow. You can scroll through these posts and interact with them by reacting, adding a comment, or sharing it to your feed.

Similar to your newsfeed, your timeline documents all the posts that you make, share, or are tagged in. This provides you with an easy way to find your past posts.

Messenger

Messenger lets you message, call, and video chat with other users. You can accessorize a message with photos, videos, stickers, audio, and files. You can also direct message a public post, photo, or reel to a friend through Messenger rather than share it on your timeline.

Groups

Groups are smaller communities that serve as a space for you to connect with people who have similar interests. They often feature local garage sales, clubs, town news, and more. An example of a Public Facebook Group is “Ellettsville — Hi Neighbor!” where members share about Ellettsville news or events, connect with other locals, and ask questions.

Instagram

Instagram is a free photo and video-sharing app that is available for Apple and Android devices. Users can customize their content by using filters, tagging other followers, associating it with a location, and writing a caption with hashtags.

Profile

Creating a profile on Instagram is simple. Simply download the Instagram App from the App Store or Google Play Store. Then, you can create an entirely new account or use an existing Facebook Account. Click this link for instructions: https://help.instagram.com/155940534568753  

Once you create an account, you can set up your profile. Change your profile picture, fill out your bio, and manage your followers. After you create a post, it will show up as a gallery on your profile.

Reminder: Your Instagram profile is public by default. Adjust this by following these steps: https://help.instagram.com/448523408565555

Post

To create a post, click the “+” button in the center of your toolbar at the bottom of your screen. Your device’s camera roll should pop up. This allows you to upload a photo, video, or combination of both as a post. You can only share 10.

Reminder: Instagram doesn’t allow viewers to view your social media posts in the landscape orientation. Ensure that your media is easily viewable in portrait mode.

After you’ve selected your media, you can add a filter, crop the size, or adjust other levels such as brightness or saturation. Click Next, and finish your post by writing a caption, adding a location, tagging a friend, and more. Click Share to post it.

When other users engage with your posts, you will receive a notification. You can view notifications in the upper right-hand corner of your home screen. The button looks like a heart.

A post you create is viewable in your follower’s feeds. Your personal feed is a compilation of posts from accounts that you follow. From your feed, you can like, comment, and share posts with other users by message.

Direct Message

Often referred to as DM (direct message), messages are accessible in the upper right-hand corner of your home screen next to the notifications button. Click on the message bubble icon to open. Messages with other users will show up here. Create a message with the pencil icon in the upper right-hand corner. You can also share a post through a message by clicking the airplane icon underneath a post.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business and employment-focused social media platform for finding a job or internship, creating professional relationships, and learning new skills to succeed in your career. It has a similar layout to Facebook but is a professional network. LinkedIn is accessible through a browser or app.

Profile

A LinkedIn profile is very similar to a professional résumé. Follow these steps to create your profile: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/a1338223/sign-up-to-join-linkedin

Once you create your profile, you can start building it to reflect your education, past jobs, skills, and other professional development. Upload a profile picture, add your location, and start connecting with other users.

Post

Creating a post on LinkedIn uses similar tools to Facebook. You can add a photo, video, celebrate an occasion, and more. LinkedIn posts often have a different tone than Facebook. The posts generally focus on your career, whether you share about graduation, accepting a new position, receiving a promotion, or sharing your thoughts on topics related to the industry you’re in.

Network

Similar to other platforms in the social media landscape, you can build a LinkedIn network by connecting with other users. You can do this by sending an invitation to connect or accepting one from another user. You can find new connections by seeing their post through a mutual connection or by searching for them by name. 

Once you’ve built your network, their posts will show up in your feed. These are viewable by clicking the Home icon. From this section, you can engage with the posts by interacting with and commenting on them.

When you create your profile, you can filter new jobs by location and type. You can also share if you’re actively searching for a new position. Relative openings will show up in the jobs section, which has a briefcase icon.

Messaging

You can interact with your connections through Messaging by starting a conversation in the Messaging Page or from your connection’s profile. Additionally, you can forward a message to share a conversation with another connection. You also have the option to leave, mute, or delete a conversation.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is an online educational platform that allows you to further your professional development. The expert-led course videos help you discover and develop business, technology, and creative skills. Once you complete a course, you can easily add it to your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn Learning offers an annual or monthly subscription. Both have a 1-month free trial. Learn more about the subscription prices here: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/subscription/products

X

Although Twitter has been in the social media landscape for quite some time, it rebranded to X in July 2023. X is an online social media platform where users can post texts, images, and videos. X users can share posts, previously known as “Tweets,” with their followers and engage in other posts as well.

Profile

Creating an X account requires a phone number or email address. Once you enter one of these and your name, you will receive instructions on how to sign up via the selected choice. Learn more about signing up for X here: https://help.twitter.com/en/using-x/create-x-account

Setting up your profile is similar to other social media channels. You can select a profile picture, upload a cover photo, customize your bio, and add a location. You can also follow other accounts to see and engage with their posts. Your profile is also a place where you can see all your posts, replies, uploaded media, and other posts you’ve liked.

Post

A post is something that you create and share on your newsfeed. Your followers can see and interact with these posts. Common types of posts include text statuses, images, videos, links, polls, and GIFs.

Similar to Facebook, the newsfeed is where you can view posts made by the accounts you follow. You can engage with the post by liking, commenting, and retweeting (sharing) the post. You may see recommended posts from people you don’t follow as well.

Direct Messages

You can use Direct Messages to have private conversations with people about posts and other content. Here is some more information about sending a Direct Message on X: https://help.twitter.com/en/using-x/direct-messages

Next: Social Media Safety Tips

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