Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Klout, Instagram, Myspace (hmmm), LinkedIn, Pinterest - social media can seem like a maze of who knows what. So do you really need it if you want to get noticed and what's the best way to use it? Hannah Campbell investigates
Social media is impossible to ignore. Used properly, it's can be a platform for graduates to get noticed quickly, rather than having to wait years for your big break.
But let's be honest – wonderful as they may be – the worlds of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Klout, LinkedIn, Instagram, Myspace (hmmm) and Pinterest (to name a few) can be pretty intimidating. Which networks should you be on? And is it really necessary if you want to go places?
Lisa Randall from Blue Arrow Recruitment says it definitely helps but if you're expecting social media to act as a springboard, you have to be careful about what you post. "I know many employers who also recruit openly via social media sites," she says.
"But you wouldn't believe how much of a hindrance social media can be because of the amount of times employers have gotten hold of someone's networking site and seen the most outrageous things."
She advises: "If you're using your Twitter or Facebook as a way to show how involved and up-to-date you are, make sure you have control over the image you're giving across and if not – I can't stress the importance privacy settings enough".
Wise words for people who are already tweeting, Instragram-ing and Facebooking. But what if you're in the social media abyss and not signed up to a single network?
Tessa Sproule, Director of Digital Content at CBC, says don't be scared but do get out there and start now. "Get on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube," she says. "Test things out, create your voice in those spaces.
"Don't be intimidated or feel you're 'too late' to the party. You're not. No one is doing this perfectly right now, we're all learning as we go."
Right. So you're in the world of social media. Now you've got to keep your profiles ticking, because here's nothing sadder than a hugely out-of-date status.
Michael Rundle – Technology Editor of the Huffington Post UK – says developments in mobile make staying active easier than ever. "One of the key trends is the better integration of social media into your mobile device.
"Last year Apple added Twitter and Facebook integration into iOS, but they may want to go further to match Android's greater flexibility," he adds.
Social media is always changing, always moving forward and expanding. Rundle says the key to being social savvy is to move with it.
"The key with social media is to stay flexible and get ready to be surprised," he says. "Nobody saw the rise of Facebook coming - or the fall of MySpace. The next great idea is probably already here - we just haven't noticed it yet."