Joining Up: Discover FaceBook/Social Communities

What are my interests (professional? personal?), who do I want to see and what do I want to learn about…today’s social community options are fun, informative and endless.

Signing up to join any community, usually involves giving up your email address or simply liking them on Facebook (FB).  When you find the right site don’t hesitate to sign up. Once that particular group’s “scoop of interest” shows up in your email or on your Facebook page, you’ll be reined in and ready to enjoy the view.

Let your friends and search engines be your guide to SM communities you may prefer.  For me, finding out the latest news on the National/International equine front is important, so I consider any leading organizations of my sport first.   A distinct few come to mind for the horse industry…Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), and American Horse Council. They are usually easy to find on Facebook by simply typing their name into the search box, then I just hit “like” to follow.

I also look for online horse communities to join just for fun. They are usually filled with pictures, videos and laughable tidbits of information.  For example, by searching for “social communities for horses” many sites come up.  I launch each community, visually scan it and then decide whether it is worth joining.  ihorsebook.com, barnmice.com, and iequine.com, are some of the more popular communities I’ve joined.

Extremely local social sites will most likely be discovered through your “daily” friends on Facebook.  For example I discovered and now follow one FB community that is only about buying and selling new and used horse blankets in NH.  No, really.  It has evolved a little bit into other horse equipment sales and general chatter, but 95% of the community discusses horse blankets, sheets and their availability.  Who doesn’t want to be in on a deal for a used horse blanket?

YOU can do the same with your preferred hobby, profession or sport. What are the largest organizations involved with your interest and/or what publications are affiliated with them?  Or, perform a search for “social communities for ______________ “? These are great questions to ask, to help find a variety of communities special to you.

Everyone wants to know about you and not necessarily because they care about you.  Social Media (SM) data collection is a critical part of keeping the groundswell active, engaged and in the black.  Data is collected, analyzed and in some instances sold for serious money to companies/organizations looking to sell something back to you, your friends or their associates.  Keep this in mind when and where you sign up.  Here is just one short story to help confirm this thinking.  As a data gatherer/seller, Spokeo was fined this past June (2102) by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for violating user rights. According to the Federal Trade Commission Spokeo engaged in its illegal activities from 2008 to 2010. The agency says Spokeo sold “coherent people profiles” that contained income, home worth, marital status, ethnicity and other information. So please be selective with your community/site choices and carefully consider what information you provide.

Most sites that have a sign in/registration panel, also provide a disclaimer/privacy policy about what they do with your personal/company’s data or what is displayed online. Finding it (disclaimer) may be hard but if you can, search it out and read it (sample policy). Then decide if you want to sign up.  Also, if a community doesn’t ask for certain personal details, don’t offer. (e.g. only fill in the required places with the asterisk).  If they require a password, consider changing up your passwords/user names between different groups/sites.  Lastly, record your selected community(s) passwords/user names off-line in a diary of some sort…did I say off-line? Yes, and in a non-communal place.

With enthusiasm…search, select, review, carefully consider and join up.  With some in-depth research and reflection, you’ll find the right social community fit…just like determining the proper fit of a foal’s blanket.

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