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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Social Media 101

Jun 28, 2022 11:04AM ● By Kimberly Blaker

Now, more than ever, it’s possible to feel like part of your family and friends’ lives, even when apart. Social media and apps make it easy to stay connected right from your personal computer, laptop, tablet or phone. Yet, because there are so many social platforms and apps, it might feel confusing to keep track of what you can do with each and how they work. The following basics should help you get started.

All about apps

‘Apps’ is short for applications—programs that you can download to your devices. They’re found in an application store on your device (App Store on Apple devices, Google Play Store on Android and Google devices, or Windows Store on Windows devices). Just click on the app store for your device to download free or paid apps or to see what you’ve already installed.

Apps are available for almost anything you can think of: games (New York Times Crossword, Words With Friends), social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok), reading (Kindle, Libby), video streaming (Netflix, Hulu), shopping (Amazon, Target) and more. 

Apps are organized in app stores by category, so it’s easy to discover something new! You can also search by most popular or by name or type of apps.

Chat with Friends on Facebook

Facebook can be accessed via app or your internet browser. Facebook users interact by posting on each other’s walls or interacting with posts through reaction buttons such as “like,” “love,” “laugh” and “care,” comments or sharing. Users you accept as “friends” can see your posts and you can see theirs. Users also have their own main page, where you can see the user’s profile picture, information about them, and photos, links, videos or posts they’ve shared.

You can also follow pages to get updates on celebrities, TV shows, movies, towns, restaurants, companies, non-profits, social causes and more. 

Many Facebook users also join various groups that match their lives and interests, locally, nationally and even internationally. Popular local groups include Mesa County Lost and Found Pets, Western Slope Classified Ads, Montrose Message Board, and Buy & Sell in the Grand Valley. There are also Groups for horse lovers, dirt bike racers, hiking trails and more.

With Facebook Messenger, you can even send private, direct messages to those on your friends list. There’s also Facebook Messenger Kids for children under 13 who can message guardian-approved people under a guardian’s account.

Instagram is for photo lovers

Instagram is a social media app based on posting pictures and videos. Users can post to their account page and the homepage of their followers. You can also comment on posts, “like” them by tapping the heart underneath, or share them with friends or to your “story,” a feature that lets users share temporary posts for up to 24 hours. These are found in the small circle profile pictures at the top of the home screen or user pages. Besides individuals, many companies and organizations use Instagram to reach users, sell products or share information. 

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The TikTok trend

People use TikTok in various creative ways, and you can even participate in challenges, dances, or trends. 

TikTok is a short video-based social media app and website. You can create 15-second to one-minute videos and share them for others to see. You can also edit videos by putting together short clips, using filters to alter the video’s appearance, and adding audio from other users or songs. 

Videos can be seen by your followers, found by others searching by hashtags (searchable phrases preceded by a # sign), or on the “for you page” that all users can see.

Tweeting with Twitter

On Twitter, users can post Tweets, which are short messages up to 280 characters. Tweets may include a link, video, picture, or retweet (sharing a tweet from another user). You can “follow” people you know, celebrities, companies and organizations to see their posts and updates. You can also see the timelines of other users or post to your own timeline for your followers to see. Users often add specific hashtags so that people can find their post when searching for similar content. With the explore feature, you can look up hashtags or particular words and what’s trending (top hashtags or popular phrases at the time). 

Blog basics

Blogs are basically web pages run by one or more individuals working to share information, usually in a specific niche, in an often informal way. 

They typically include writing about the topic and may include pictures, videos, recipes or links to other pages or products. Menu tabs or blocks are usually near the top of the page to click so you can explore the blog or learn more about the author(s) and the blog. 

Anyone can visit a blog. Blogs may be found in a web search or by recommendation. Authors often encourage visitors to leave comments at the bottom of their posts, follow the blog site for updates, or sign up for email lists. 

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