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Introduce your family to social networking

Published On: May 16 2011 02:55:00 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 30 2012 10:58:33 AM CDT

Thierry Roge/Reuters

By Jean Marquit, Contributing writer

In the past few years, a lot has been written about how social networking can help businesses large and small. In addition to helping businesses, many professionals are becoming involved in social media and networking in order to create useful contacts and forge relationships.

Now, the realm of social media is seeing an influx from "ordinary" people -- moms and dads and cousins and even grandparents. This is because social networking provides a great way for members of your personal social circle, especially family and friends, to keep in touch.

Keeping up with family members

The holidays are a great time for family members to see each other and renew their ties. But there is usually a lot to catch up on -- especially if you have not seen your cousin Jane for awhile, or if you live a long way from your brother's family. One way you can stay in better touch with friends and family is to make use of all of the social media tools available.

Social networking Web sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter allow people to connect with each other and to share the latest news. You can even start up a blog (or read relatives' blogs) and post pictures, share events and even get comments and have a "conversation" with family members who stop by. Technology makes it easy and convenient to keep up with members of your family -- as long as you take a few minutes each week to log in to a social media site.

Connecting with family members online

If you want to build a good social media network with your family, it is a good idea to make sure that most of you use the same social networking Web site. Otherwise, you might end up with social networking overload as you try to keep up with people on different networks -- and try to manage your own profiles. One of the most popular sites for families is Facebook. This is because Facebook has fairly advanced privacy controls (providing protection for younger family members), as well as an interface that makes it easy to see updates from people in your social circle. Uploading pictures and commenting on others' photos is also easy, and the Wall feature makes it easy to offer encouragement or just say, "Hi."

MySpace is another easy-to-use social media Web site. However, privacy is not the default, and in some ways MySpace has been seen as easier to hack. However, many people prefer MySpace, and it has a great deal of space and the ability to make posts on your own MySpace blog.

Blogspot.com is one of the most popular places for people to start personal blogs. You can even create a network of family blogs if you would like.

Finally, Twitter is starting to become popular amongst those who like instant messaging. It's a fast way to get the latest news out to your social circle.

If you are interested in keeping in better touch with your family members, it might be a good idea to suggest that you all join the same social media network. You can tell them about the benefits of being able to only have to post pictures and event information and family news once, without having to send numerous messages to everyone.

And it's a great way to include several people in one "conversation." Technology truly is providing ways for us to interact more effectively with each other over long distances.