By the Numbers
If the internet is an information superhighway, social media is a road hog. The web is increasingly being used as a way to connect with chums, strangers, and even celebs.
Here’s a snapshot of how the internet has befriended us.
The number of members LinkedIn is adding per minute.
LinkedIn is the social site with a professional twist; it makes Rolodexes look as ancient as wagon wheels. The site has more than 85 million members and is growing fastest overseas. If you haven’t used this tool to electronically link your network, it’s time to take the plunge.
Tip: Most people won’t connect with others they haven’t met. Unless you have a legitimate association, don’t reach out to strangersit will look like you’re trying to schmooze.
The percent of adults who use social networking sites.
What originally started as a domain for teens has quickly turned into a free-for-all for anyone with bandwidth and time to spare. Daily usage by Boomers, ages fifty to sixty-four, of social media sites grew 60 percent from 2010 to 2011.
Tip: Double check your profiles to ensure no personal information, such as your address, is made public.
Sources: The Pew Internet and American Life Project
The estimated value of social media newcomer Pinterest.
Pinterest is the chic way to express your style and avocations. A virtual bulletin board launched in 2010, this site allows you to bookmark other web pages and browse what your friends are posting. From decor and gift ideas to book recommendations, photo tips, and recipes, this virtual scrapbook is a great online organizer. (And who doesn’t need that?)
Tips: The site is still in beta and can be tricky to navigate. Find a friend or an online tutorial to get started, request an invite from pinterest.com, and, once you’re approved, start virtually pinning. Only follow those you knoweven Pinterest can have an edgy side.
The number of active Facebook users.
When it comes to social networking, Facebook wasn’t the first but it is certainly king. This site enables you to keep tabs on those you don’t see often, share pictures, and even snag discounts from your favorite retailers. Now if we could only get Mark Z. to stop messing with the template.
Tips: Like any online hobby you enjoy, Facebook can easily suck you in. If you find yourself a little too involved with Facebook, take a break from it for a week. This will temper your reliance on it and maybe even remind you that the world will not stop spinning if you don’t update your status.
But do check out facebook.com/marriottschool.
The number of tweets each day.
Looking to complain about a company, catch up on what your friends are thinking, or receive dating advice from Justin Bieber? Twitter is your answer. This 140-character microblogging spot has created a way to spread information and to reach out to those who otherwise seem inaccessible.
Tips: Watch out for direct messages that are spam or worse. Also be aware that hundreds of accounts have been hacked at some point, so don’t take every tweet for fact.
The Marriott School tweets too: twitter.com/marriottschool.