“Simple” Answers to 6 Basic Social Media Questions

Filed in Sharisax Is Out There 6 comments

NOTE: This article is being republished for my online students in the course Social Media for Journalists:
Every new enterprise —  whether it’s a new project, new class, new relationship, or a new business — begins with some degree of Confusion. The key to getting past the initial uncertainties is to (a) silence your “fear” [False Expectations Appearing Real], (b) focus on one objective, and (c) put in effort

My social media students have so many questions that most don’t even know where to start. Below is a list of the FAQ’s . . . and some answers; they are in no way complete, but they may provide a foundation of knowledge to build on.

1. Where can and will social media take me?

Social media is a set of technologies, strategies, and tactics that will help build your business by increasing both your understanding of your customers/clients/community and their knowledge of how your products and services can help them.

2. What makes social media so important?

The world has changed. There is a New Normal and the old techniques of marketing and communication will no longer work in the same ways as they have in the past — because everyone can become a publisher and everyone can gather information on their own [without depending traditional media].

3. How much time do people need to spend online?

Among peoples’ greatest online fears is that they must be continually updating their statuses on dozens of social media platforms. Most social media consultants suggest that short periods of time, e.g. 15-30 minutes two or three times a day can accomplish a number of objectives for entrepreneurs as well as managers and executives in firms of all sizes — if you have a strategy set in place.

4. What is a blog?

The word “blog,” which is a silly-sounding word to many, is just a shortened term for a Web Log. Very simply, a blog is a website with recurring content. Bloggers can write whatever they want whenever they want. This is an example of everyone having the opportunity to become a publisher. Are all blogs “equal”? Of course not. Of the hundreds of thousands of blogs and bloggers, most might be termed “frivolous,” i.e. trivial, inconsistent, unresearched, etc. But the fact of the matter is that many bloggers who write about important and interesting topics in unique styles are fast becoming highly influential throughout the world.

5. How safe are social media sites for private, confidential information?

Not “safe” at all. The Best Practice is not to write anything on a social media platform that you wouldn’t want the world to read. There is a difference between publishing “personal” and “private” information. Personal information about yourself can be wonderful for building trusting relationships. Private information does not belong on the Global Whiteboard.

6. How many social media platforms do you really need to know and use?

Answers to this question vary depending on WHY an individual or a business communicates online. To effectively build an online presence as the Go-To source for information on a certain subject, these five venues offer great rewards: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogging, and YouTube.

For more basic information on these platforms, check out the sharisax.com articles in these categories

Blogging Basics

Facebook Basics

LinkedIn Basics

Twitter Basics


Definitions of Web 2.0, Blogging, Microblogging, Reverse-Engineering, Future of Marketing

No Guarantees, but here’s how to go viral on video

Enhance your LinkedIn profile to increase find-ability

10 Social Media Newbie Mistakes

What to Tweet to stand out from the Masses

Please add more questions about social media and how it works in the comment section. You’ll get answers from me and other readers.

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   22 September 2010
Tags : , , ,
Sep 23, 2010
10:33 am

Thanks Shari:

Do you have expereince working with Govt. agencies and non-profits?

Author Sep 23, 2010
1:42 pm

Ethan, interesting that you should ask. I am working for my sister Connie Inukai, who runs a company that works exclusively via government contracts.
What do you need?

Sep 24, 2010
12:21 pm

As always Sheri you elegantly broke down the complexity of social networking into a simple understanding that makes sense.

Also love the video… I have been using that video as a powerful communication tool in my Personal Branding seminars and it always gets people thinking. Thanks for another great post.

In your corner and on your side,

Mark Allen Grainger

Sep 29, 2010
12:40 pm

Hi Shari,
I’ll repost my FB response about other questions here although I think you’ve succinctly covered the subject.

1. How do I develop a Social Media campaign for myself and/or my business?

I’m guessing the answer to this one would be similar to question 6, How many social media platforms do you really need to know and use? i.e., why are you communicating?

Still, this is a dynamic vs. static situation. For myself, it started as a school project, then developed into an intense personal interest, and is now a career path.

2. What would be a basic, general platform for Social Media, rather, for someone completely new to the scene, where is the best place to start?

Again, from personal experience, when I began, my first involvements were with sites that promoted my learning experiences, e.g. LinkedIn and Twitter. From there, FB, MySpace, etc. I’m currently involved with founding crusades for school organizations, and utilizing YouTube and Flickr as well. Perhaps the need for Social Media is as unique as the person or agency that fosters it.

What are some other thoughts?

Mar 24, 2011
12:03 pm

The answer to the importance of social media can be exemplified by the process that brought me to this article.

I was using google to search for answers and questions as research for a blog topic and there in the top 10 results was this article. Because google weighs pages that are connected to people you follow using social media this article gained relevancy in my search results.

Thus… the importance of social media.

Feb 11, 2013
6:15 am
#6 Tushar :

I have many blogs but i never concentrated on social media but now i realised how wrong was i. Your article helped me a lot to start. Thanks for sharing.

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