Social media tools can be powerful and helpful, when used in the right way. For example, Facebook is an excellent way to keep in touch with groups of friends that you maybe are unable to physically see as much as you would like. Or maybe you are running a community group, and want to let everyone know it is cancelled one week and don’t have everyones email addresses. Another example (which in my personal case, would have been useful) is when people move into a new physical community, and do not yet have the network to know who first to talk to, but urgently need some recommendations to help them.
This said, the world of social media can be a frightening concept, especially when your only real knowledge of it comes from newspaper headlines. There isn’t really anything inherently wrong with social media, but you do need to apply a common sense level of caution in the same way you would anything else. Some good rules to pay in mind when you use these services could be:
Facebook is the more prominent tool for social communications at the moment. You create an account, add people you know as ‘friends’ and post updates, or send messages amongst each other. It also has a concept of ‘groups’ where people can chat around a topic (such as a village) or specific events/activities.
Twitter is a ‘micro-blogging’ service, meaning that you can post like you would in Facebook, but the post is limited to a certain amount of characters. Twitter is also not a community driven site like the others, instead it is often used to view news updates from people/communities/organisations that you would ‘follow’. Very handy for keeping up to date on current affairs in a way that you can customise the content for.
This is more of a work tool, so you can network with clients or other people in your industry.
This is focussed on sharing photography, and talking about the photos taken. These tend to be slightly less personal the facebook photos would be (eg. photos of events and activities rather than a family lunch photo).