Staying Connected

Staying Connected

Staying connected is both easier and harder in today’s fast paced world. Some people feel that true communication is a lost art while others believe the opposite. Communicating today differs in some ways from in ages past and remains the same in others.  


Networking, Social Networking and Social Media

When you hear the word “networking” several different things may come to mind. For the purpose of this blog we mean the exchange of information among individuals or groups. In the past the main forms of networking were in person or by horse and/or carriage. This developed into telephones, more readily available transportation and through the mail or delivery services. The old adage of it being not what you know but who you know was true then and in many ways is true now but on a much bigger scale.

Social Networking is like regular networking on steroids. The earliest forms of the Internet, and with that email, was developed in the 1960s. By the 1970s it had advanced to the point of being able to share virtual newsletters. In the 1980s home computers were starting to be more common and in 1988 Internet Relay Chats (IRCs) were first used. These remained popular into the 1990s. It was becoming possible to network with people from all over the world with the click of a few keystrokes.

Small Biz Trends states that the first recognizable Social Media Site was Six Degrees. It was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today.

Understanding Social Media Sites

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Social Media sites across the world depending on how broad or narrow you define the term. Since 2012, Pew Research Center has researched and surveyed the trends of US residents using Social Media sites. Their findings in 2018 (see link above) found that the top 8 regularly used sites for Americans are: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Below is a  brief summary of each of the top 8 Social Media Sites using information from Leverage and Lifewire.

Facebook: Easy to create a profile and keep up with and find long-lost friends and family. Tons of groups and pages to join for nearly any interest, hobby, or concern you may have.

YouTube: From music videos, tutorials, movies, personal vlogs, and independent films you can find nearly any type video you have in mind.

Twitter: Microblogging social site that limits posts to 280 characters.

Instagram: It’s the ultimate social network for sharing real-time photos and short videos while on the go.

Snapchat: App for sending videos and pictures that disappear after being viewed. Most used platform among 12-24-year-olds.

WhatsApp: It is a cross-platform app that uses your internet connection or data plan to send and receive messages using your phone number instead of usernames and pins.

Pinterest: Social Media site all about discovery. Most sought for interests include home, parenting, beauty, style, food, and industries.

LinkedIn: Business oriented social media site.  Profiles look like extremely detailed resumes. Make professional connections, look for job opportunities, and possibly advance your career.

Ways to Effectively Communicate

Effective communication is about more than just the exchange of information. HelpGuide identifies how using a combination of 4 different skills can up your communication game. These skills are:

  • Engaged listening: Effective communication is less about talking and more about listening.
  • Nonverbal communication: The way you look, listen, move, and react to another person tells them more about how you’re feeling than words alone ever can.
  • Managing stress in the moment:  It’s only when you’re in a calm, relaxed state that you’ll be able to know whether the situation requires a response, or whether the other person’s signals indicate it would be better to remain silent.
  • Asserting yourself in a respectful way: Being assertive means expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in an open and honest way, while standing up for yourself and respecting others. It does NOT mean being hostile, aggressive, or demanding.

Independent living aids, LLC has many products that can enable you to have an easier and more relaxing time communicating with others. This week’s amplified phone sale can help you become a more engaged listener.


This post was written by Alicia Baucom.