LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: In this photo illustration an Apple iPad displays it's home screen on August 6, 2014 in London, England. iPad maker Apple is selling fewer units than in the same quarter in 2013, it is reported. (Photo illustration by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, and LinkedIn are some common social media platforms most people are aware of.

There are a lot of people who dismiss social media as a fad, addiction, useless, overblown, overhyped, self-serving, and over used. Other than a fad, all the others are probably true to some extent.

The fact remains that over 1 billion people in the world are active monthly users on Facebook.

Your Social Media Personal Page

Finding and keeping in touch with old high school or college friends is one of the positives of social media.

Older people confined to their homes or in nursing facilities are able to access friends and family and are able to enjoy a fuller life.

Parents there is a better than average chance that your high schooler is being bullied online and is afraid to tell you.

Knowing your child’s online activity is not spying or not giving them space. It’s preparing them for the future and being good parents to their future children.

Negatives of Social Media

Some people online can be very hurtful. Things will be said to you online that would never be said to your face. How far you delve into social media might depend on how thick your skin is.

Sooner or later you will probably be attacked for your views on some issue.

Information about a host of topics is often posted without fact checking the source or accuracy of that information and many just pass it on.

Parents post information about kids names, schools, and schedules never realizing that there are people searching for that exact type of information.

Posting about your exciting two week vacation only tells thieves you are out of town for an extended period.

Your plant watering person may not notice your big screen or jewelry is missing.

Save all the pictures and great things that you experienced on your trip until you return home then post to your hearts content. Your Facebook friends don’t need to be on vacation with you.

Social Media and Your Business Page

An apt description of TownSquare Media might be that it’s a digital company with radio capability rather than a radio company with digital capability.

The difference to the advertiser is the enhanced opportunity on digital for the same or fewer dollars when combined with what you are doing on radio.

I recommend you do some combination of both. On the digital side you can add things like contests, special offers, accumulate points for merchandise, and a host of other opportunities that bolster your connection with customers in addition to your 30-second on air spots.

One medium complements the other and builds your brand across multiple venues.

Promoting your own Facebook business page will also bring in customers. More and more businesses I frequent have a “Follow us on Facebook or Twitter” sign on their premises.

The advantage of social media is that instead of trying to find customers using more traditional methods, social media customers are trying to find you — on social media and search engines. Your digital presence makes that easier.

Some Final Thoughts

Whether you are using social media for personal or business reasons there are many advantages to adding social media to your communication lineup.

Human beings are relationship animals. We don’t always pick the best friends but few of us are loaners.

On the Internet we can share our grief, share our success, share our experiences, and share our expertise.

In the near future social media will probably be the main form of communication between both younger and older people on smart phones, laptops and notepads.

Whether it’s social media for pleasure or business it’s here to stay.

You can stand on the platform, or get on the train and see the world in a whole new way.

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