Social Media: Simple Tips for the Inexperienced User

Social media. If you're a teenager then it's your lifeline. Older and you're probably a relative novice like myself.

20 years ago social media didn't exist like it does today. We talked on the telephone and read the daily paper in hard copy rather than on a laptop. We wrote letters to friends and family (and received letters in return). We remembered phone numbers off by heart rather than choosing a name from our contacts. Things were different back then.

So here are a few social media apps which may be of interest to you.

1. Instagram: Everybody's heard of it but not everyone uses it. This is a photo sharing app most popularly used on phones. You take photos of what you are doing and post it on your profile along with a few words and some #hashtags. Hashtags are the search phrases people use when looking for something ie. #funnyquotes (Don't put a gap between words or this ends the hashtag). If you want to search for images on Instagram of #funnyquotes, you enter that phrase and see the 1,057,217 images people have used with that hashtag.

2. Snapchat: Definitely the younger generation's plaything. You take a photo within the app and send it to whomever is in your friends list. Once viewed, unless you save the image, the snap will disappear, never to be seen again. Teens often have multiple accounts and only let you see the one's they want you to see so don't be fooled into thinking your teenage son or daughter doesn't do a lot of Snapchatting. They do...

3. Facebook: Known as 'Only old people use Facebook' which is kind of ironic because you often see teens looking at it so it can't be that archaic. It's a place where people post photos of what they are doing and let others comment on it. It's also a good way of remembering who's birthday it is on any given day as it reminds you about everyone in your friend group (very useful!). It is also known to create FOMO (fear of missing out) when you see others having a good time ("Why wasn't I there?").

4. Reddit: My new personal fav to waste a bit of time. Download the app, set up an account and click on 'popular' at the top and you'll get huge amounts of completely random trivia/photos/videos to peruse through. When you see something you like or don't like, click on the UP arrow (upvote) or DOWN arrow (downvote) to give the post more karma. It's a democracy thing and you are the voter. A few of the subreddits (boards) I like are: r/mildlyinteresting, r/mademesmile, /showerthoughts & r/oddlysatisfying. You can follow boards by clicking on the Subscribe button within that board.

5. Twitter: The Donald Trump's of this world use Twitter as their personal stage. Others use it as a way to get information out there in a hurry (ie. traffic incidents, weather alerts, road warnings). Twitter allows sentences of 140 characters in length and the 'tweets' go onto that user's profile. You can chose who's profile to follow and you'll see their tweets come up on your 'feed'.