Do you type out texts with one finger,spell everything perfectly and add in punctuation? Have you only really just got the hang of emails? Are you wondering what all the fuss is about Twitter? Have you signed up for Facebook, only to wonder what to do next? Then you are in urgent need of The womens room guide to social networking, and you need it now.
Some of our most forward thinking friends have surprised us with their Luddite tendencies and quite frankly we feel we have a duty to help them out. Everyone is familiar with the public and the private sector, well now we have the social sector and like or not, its not going away. So ladies, if you are a resister, we suggest you get online right now and get Facebooking (how long before that's a dictionary term?)
'Why should I,' I hear you ask. Its for teenagers, whats the point, I don't need another thing to check in my life, I'm busy enough, I have plenty of real friends, why do I need virtual ones? Oh we've heard them all before. So here are the reasons why you should.
Facebook is a really easy way to keep in touch with friends and relatives. Updating your status and reading what your friends are thinking or doing is such a simple way to keep in touch with whats going on.
'Stephanie is waving goodbye to her oldest son for a week' is boring if you don't know Stephanie, but if it's your sister in law, it lets you know your nephew is off on a school trip, without a long, expensive phone call to the other side of the world.
If you are really technically minded, you can link your Twitter and Facebook updates at the same time, but lets take it a step at a time here!
It's possible to email and leave messages and comments on friends status updates and photographs and for them to do the same to you. Uploading photographs enables you to share them with friends and family. It really is the modern equivalent of handing round a big pile of holiday snaps or a slide show of your birthday party!
It's also a great way to keep in touch with work friends and contacts. If you prefer not to mix business with pleasure, its possible to separate people into different groups.
Forget Bebo, it's for 10 year olds and My Space is 'so over,' since corporate companies decided it was a great way to connect with the 'Yoof.' But Facebook is now deemed as an essential requirement to connect and communicate in the 21st century. If you are worried about privacy there is one simple rule, don't put anything on there that is very private or you are embarrassed about. You can alter your settings to chose who sees what, so it's a bit like life, you are in control of what you show and tell.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a work only way to socially network, join Linked In. This is a great way to join career related groups and link up with people you have worked with in the past, or may potentially want to work with in the future.
We've mentioned Twitter before and its taken us a while to get the hang of it, but now we are hooked. Again, it can seem a bit pointless at first, but the idea is to follow people, websites, blogs and companies that you are interested in. Obviously you have to follow Stephen Fry, its almost law, but its also possible to follow you favourite newspaper, radio station, magazine or brand, as well as you family and friends. It's instant news and information in one sentence, often with a link to an interesting feature or website.
Ok, it can all seem like a bit too much information and it can become addictive. We have been known to complain about our children always being on the computer, only to throw them off, so that we can check our own updates! Also the same rules apply with drinking and emailing (commonly known as drailing) Do not go on Facebook if you have had more than two glasses of wine, especially if you have just become re acquainted with your first love, who you have always secretly loved, but know is still highly unsuitable and anyway you've been living with the same man for 25 years, etc etc!
There is simply no point in signing up and waiting for something to happen. Social networking is similar to attending a cocktail party. You have to work at it, chat and interact and eventually you'll get the hang of it. Also, a bit like a cocktail party, don't think your kids will want to hang out with you and chat, they will simply think you are snooping, and of course they would be right!