(pianoPed) Social Media Basics

I don’t plan on walking you through any basics of how to set up a social media account. My intent is to let you know what platforms are available, what platforms might appeal to what audiences, and ways to coordinate your posting to multiple platforms and accounts from a single source.

Keys to using social media include:

  • Always keep in mind that you are communicating in public forums. No matter what you’re level of privacy settings, anyone you communicate with can share anything with anyone.
  • You are using social media to communicate with an audience or audiences (plural). Even a single audience there may be many different ways that sub-groups of people use social media to communicate. Since you are using tools to try and communicate, it is up to you to adapt to find the right tools to reach your audience.
  • If you work for a school or company, make sure you know their social media policy. Even if you are a private teacher, develop a policy that you can follow. Ball State specifies that faculty cannot send students a friend request. Faculty must either accept all friend requests sent by students, or accept none. You have to treat all of your students equally on social media.
  • Make use of any tools to group friends/contacts/followers, etc that a platform allows you. Google+ forces to put new contacts into groups when you accept them. Most other platforms give you the option of putting contacts in lists, but you have to take the initiative. Using lists doesn’t just allow to target subsets of people; it allows you to scan the news/posts from subsets of people – sometimes finding useful information that you might have missed in the large pool.


Facebook and Google+

Both Facebook and Google+ are general-purpose social networks. Facebook is by far the most used platform, and as such you almost have to have a presence on it. The excitement surrounding Google+ has cooled, but it does have some very useful features not found in Facebook. Hangouts, a video conferencing tool is quite popular among online educators and journalists. Skype and iChat can video conference, but they require everyone to be on each other’s contact list. Google+ also allows you to follow topics, not just people, functioning like a news reader.  Still Facebook is the undisputed leader of social networking.


Twitter is a micro-communication platform. Some people prefer it because no matter what someone posts, it can’t be more than 140 characters. Use hash tags (#) to create keywords for your tweets and that could help you reach a wider audience with them. Keep track of your mentions. You can ask questions on twitter, use hash tags, and get interesting and useful answers from people you haven’t met before.

LinkedIn and Academia.edu

Both LinkedIn and Academia.edu are specialized social networks. LinkedIn has more a business focus. Your profile page is laid out like a resumé. There are professional discussion groups. And most important to the service, you provide recommendations for other contacts.

Academia.edu serves college faculty. Your profile is associated with your college/university, and you specify research interests to follow and publicize about yourself. While I don’t use Academia.edu regularly, I do have a cohort of music technologists that I have connected to internationally that I have never met personally.

URL Shortening Services

A URL shortening service, like bit.ly, goo.gl, and t.co (which is the default service for Twitter), can help with keeping the size of a post small. Twitter and some other services have URL shorteners included in the service, or tied to the service. WordPress has their own shortener domain, wp.me, that helps to identify WordPress sites to the world.

Integrated Posting Platforms – Hootsuite and Tweetdeck

There are ways to link social networks for posting to more than one network at a time. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are probably the most popular. Each can let you view all of your social networks in one window (using tabs and/or columns). With each post, you can choose which platforms you want to target with each post. They can be convenient, but sometimes you want to craft posts to be a bit different for different platforms.


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