Living with Social Media

Social media has completely permeated our culture.  No one will be mad if you pass up using super-specific social networking sites and apps (like Pinterest), but you’ll definitely get sideways looks if you tell people you’re not on Facebook.

It’s odd that, with all the popularity of social media, theredon’t seem to be any tips sheets or guides on how to “properly” use it. And that’s exactly why EarthLink has put together a quick cheat sheet to help you with the basics:

BE YOURSELF

When the internet was newer, anonymity was key.  Disguising your true identity with usernames like “HappyMom97″ was a socially acceptable way to communicate through your computer.  This is no longer the case.  People want to find you (actual people from your past and present, like your friends, relatives, and coworkers), so it’s expected that you will now use your real name and a real photo in your social media profiles (some sites, like Google+, even require it!).  That being said, please NEVER including sensitive information like addresses, phone numbers, or even your current and past employment (the one exception is LinkedIN, a professional social site where it pays to show off your resume).

WRITE FOR YOUR MOTHER

If you wouldn’t want your mother to read it or see it, don’t post about it or upload a picture of it.  Only share photos of yourself that you’d be proud for an employer to see (the number of employers using social media to check up on applicants and current employees is on the rise), and try to avoid heated discussions.  Those conversations always work better face-to-face, and people reading it can easily take what you say out of context, no matter how well-worded or thought-out it is.

BE FRIENDS WITH…FRIENDS

Only “friend” people you know in real life.  If you get a message from a stranger, feel free to message back (most sites allow messaging…like an in-social-media email…between non “friends”), but don’t “add” them until you’ve met or spoken outside of social media.

KNOW HOW TO COMMUNICATE

  • Send a message if you want it to privately talk to someone
  • Post on a friend’s wall if it’s for a specific person, but one of your or their friends might enjoy what you’re sharing (like a recipe or a video of a sleeping cat)
  • Post a status about something general that all your friends might enjoy (like the deal on lunch you discovered)
  • Only comment on a post or status with something relevant (Example: if the original post is “I adore ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE by The Beatles,” comment “Me too!” and not “I miss you…how are you?”  That’s better for a separate wall post or message.

Use these as a jumping off point to get yourself settled into communicating through social media.  It’s meant to be a fun way to represent yourself online, so have fun with it!

Internet Access Plays a Part in Purchasing Choices

Internet Access became an American need for people to have access to email, news, games, and (more recently) social media.  Being able to shop online is also a large positive of internet access, but a recent Nielsen survey shows that the internet may play a deeper role in purchase choices than we initially thought.

According to the survey, people were most likely to make a purchase based on (in order): advice of family/friends (around 77%), physically seeing a product in-store (72%), free samples (70%), searching the Web (67%), expert advice (66%) and TV and radio ads (59%).

Breaking it down by product categories, consumers replied that internet access is either “very” or “somewhat important” when making purchase decisions for electronics (81%), appliances (77%), books (70%), music/clothing (69% each), and automobiles (68%). At least 60% said it also influenced the buying of food, hygiene products, over-the-counter medicine, and hair care.  And while social media was built as a way to connect with friends, the Nielsen survey discovered that 1/3 of U.S. consumers are actively researching products on social sites like Facebook.

So the internet isn’t just a place to come to buy a product; internet access allows you to take the entire shopping process (research, comparison, decision, and purchase) out of the retailer and into your home.  One wonders if eventually we’ll need to leave the house for anything!

DSL Modem Setup: How to Get Started with EarthLink DSL

In addition to the blazing-fast, reliable high-speed Internet access, one of the extra benefits you get when you sign up for EarthLink DSL Internet service is a free DSL modem.DSL modem setup - how to install your high-speed DSL service

Even if you’re not confident with technology, it’s actually very easy to get your DSL modem set up with the free self-installation kit we send you.

I’ll provide a basic overview here, so you’ll know what to expect. You could also look back at this setup information if you ever need to reinstall your modem in a different spot in your home.

DSL Setup Steps

  1. Install the Dual-Jack Filter. Unplug your phone from the wall jack nearest to your computer and then plug the dual filter into that phone jack. Plug your phone into the phone jack of the dual-jack filter (where you see the phone icon). Leave the second jack on the filter empty for now.
  2. Plug in the Single-Jack Filters. You need to install single-jack filters for everything in your home that is plugging into a wall jack. Unplug any additional phones, fax machines, Tivo, and other devices you may have in other wall jacks, plug in the single-jack filters, and then plug the devices back into the filter.
  3. Plug in the Modem. First, make sure you have a surge protector plugged into a wall socket. Then plug the power brick for the DSL modem into your surge protector, and plug the power cord into the back of the DSL modem. Turn the surge protector on first, and then turn on the DSL modem by pressing the power button on the back. The power light will come on and other lights will blink and glow.
  4. Connect the phone cable. Plug one end of the included gray phone cord into the gray side of the dual-jack filter you installed in step 1. Plug the other end of the phone cord into the DSL modem’s gray DSL port.
  5.  Connect the Ethernet cable. Plug one end of the yellow Ethernet cable into your computer’s Ethernet port and the other end into the DSL modem’s yellow Ethernet port.

To watch an animation showing these DSL setup steps, click here.

Enjoy your high-speed DSL Internet access.

WiFi Security Tips from EarthLink

WiFi Security is important, so here are EarthLink’s top 7 tidbits of advice:

  1. Customize Settings: Your WiFi router probably arrived with a default network name (called your SSID) and log in info (username/password). Change all of these to be custom the first time you use your router.
  2. Nonsense passwords are strong passwords: If your password is something relating to your life (“welovebaseball”) or a birth date, or even easy to remember, change it.  Make sure it has at least 8 characters and is impossible to remember (though DO remember to write it down and store it in a secure place).
  3. Get turned on: Your WiFi router has built-in security settings, so make sure they are active. (If there are multiple possibler settings, select WPA2 or, if that isn’t available, WPA.
  4. Don’t Broadcast: If your router options include “Disable SSID Broadcast“, make sure it’s selected.
  5. Center your Router: Move your router away from walls, as close as possible to the center of your home to both increase the performance of your network and stop “bleed” (the broadcast of your signal outside of its intended area), so fewer people have access to it and your WiFi security is stronger.
  6. Protect from Your Computer: EarthLink members can download the EarthLink Protection Control Center (it’s free!), or purchase a low-cost subscription to Norton 360. These products include built-in firewalls, antivirus, and anti-spyware features.