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Catching on to an online presence
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Forsyth County News

I admit that I was a little late to the game when it came to jumping on the social media bandwagon.

Years ago, when Facebook first became a public site, a "hip" friend of mine tried to get me to join. She explained it to me and even sent me links to her "techie" friends’ pages.

I just didn’t get it. Why would you want people seeing your photos and why do you call people you don’t know your "friends?"

What did it mean to "tag" someone and if anybody tried to "poke" me, I figured I would report them to the authorities.

When Facebook continued gaining steam, I looked at it again, but it was not until my children joined that I took the plunge and signed up.

I quickly saw the appeal. How amazing that you can find friends you haven’t seen or heard from since high school (or before) and in just a few minutes, play "catch-up" on what they have been doing for the past 20 or 30 years.

Facebook is a great way to keep up with friends and family and is a catalyst for getting to know most everybody you "friend."

Nowadays, pretty much everybody, it seems, is on Facebook. It’s more often the exception when you meet someone who’s not, especially if they are younger than 30. For them, e-mail is becoming obsolete. I have to text my children to tell them to check their e-mail.

Right alongside Facebook, of course, is Twitter.

Once again, I totally did not get this at first. Why would anybody care that I was at Starbucks?

Even if I did have something to say, I wasn’t sure I liked my comment being called a "tweet." And all that talk about "following" others and being "followed" sounded either like a cult or a serious stalking situation.

Again, my technical friend pointed out that my followers might like to hear my tweets about food, cooking or even a good sale on chicken.

I really had to think about that. I do love communicating with friends, readers and family, so I signed up and began my Twitter experiment.

It took me a little while, but once I got the hang of it, I found out how fun, informative and interesting Twitter can be. It is much more than just a way to tell people what you are doing.

Here’s the deal: You search for things that interest you and when you find a site, you click "follow."

Now here is the trick. Click on "list" and create separate lists for different categories.

For example, I love food, so I have one list devoted to my favorite chefs, restaurants or recipe sites. These are updated usually several times a day. So when I log onto Twitter, I can click on that list and get instant updates from those I follow.

Among my lists, I currently have these categories: Local happenings, food, news, travel, entertainment, health, quotes, jokes and friends.

The friend list is the most important. That is where I put my close friends and family members who tweet. I can click on that to see what they are up to.

You can also follow your favorite restaurants, and they will often have special offers for their followers. That is true of most businesses you follow.

OK, still not convinced? When you tweet to people, they often tweet back. Guess what? Even famous people do this.

I have gotten tweets from celebrity anchors, chefs and more. That is really cool.

Twitter is a way to customize and compartmentalize things that interest you on the Internet and have them bring you the updates instead of you having to go look for it.

There are lots of other tricks when using Twitter, but hopefully that is enough to pique your interest.

So, go to, sign up, and follow me @adlenrobinson.

Happy tweeting!


Adlen Robinson is author of "Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home." E-mail her at