Social Media in Public Works 101 - Introduction/Email

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Welcome to the first in a series of Social Media in Public Works 101. We've got a great lineup of regular posts highlighting the most popular online communication tools. And we'll be rolling these out to you over the next few months. This first post starts out at the beginning by covering what's become a tried-and-true method of online communication: email.

Our use of email has evolved over the last few decades from elation at hearing AOL's cheery "You've got mail!" to groans of "not another email!" Yet how many of us could stop using email at this point? Probably not many if we want to keep our jobs, because in the workplace email has become the digital thread that binds. Even as social media has taken over the Internet, email has remained our primary means of staying in touch — at least so far.

And as you travel along your social media journey, you'll find yourself continuing to rely on email as a type of home base or foundation for your online activity. This is because many social media sites require you to have an email address to sign up for an account with them. These sites depend on email for verification, password resets, and for sending general announcements to their members. Some sites will even push your social media activity to your email. So, if you thought your inbox was busy before, it's about to become more popular than a commuter station at rush hour.

All this leads to the first decision you will need to make before jumping on the social media bandwagon: which email account will support your use of social media? While your first thought might be to use a home or work email address, I would highly suggest thinking about using a new email account or at least not using a work email. Your employer might not be too happy about your use of their resources for a nonwork-related activity, and if you ever end up going to work elsewhere, you'll spend a lot of time and effort switching everything over to a new email.

Another reason to pick a new email is to make sure this new account is easily accessible no matter where you are at. It's also a good idea not to depend on an email provided by an Internet provider company. This is because you could lose access to that email if you move to an area not served by that provider. Taking both of these issues into consideration, the best email ends up being one you would reach and manage through a browser like Internet Explorer or Firefox. My browser-based email of choice has been Gmail, an online email service offered for free by Google. There are other email providers out there like Yahoo or Windows Hotmail. There's even a Wikipedia entry comparing all the providers, although the warning at the top of the page indicates it might need updating.

In this article, I am going to focus on Gmail and explain how to get your very own Gmail account.
Signing up for your Gmail account will be one of the easiest steps we take in our exploration of social media. You begin at the main Google site — a page we are probably all very familiar with: http://www.google.com./ Click on over to the site (you might want to print out this post so you can follow along or you can keep this article open in a different window). Now, look up at the top of the Google page. You should see a ribbon of words representing services offered by Google. One of these will be "Gmail." Go ahead and click that word. You should find yourself at Google's Gmail screen. Look at the top right corner of the page for a red button with the words, "Create an Account." You can go ahead and click that button. (There's also little "Create an Account" words buried in the middle of the page that can be clicked too.)

Gmail Signup PageThe screen you are now looking at should look something like the one in the image here. This is the a form where you can fill out all the details about yourself and the account you want to create.

First put in your first and last name. Then choose your username, remembering that now is not the time to try out a crazy nickname your friends would pick out for you. You might end up using social media for work-related purposes, and names like "rockyourworld" or "darth.vader" are probably not wise choices for someone working in our field (unless you own a quarry or hire yourself out for Star Wars-themed parties). Using your real name or a derivative of your real name is acceptable. If you are simply that fun type person who likes a little flair, using a safe, industry-related term like ready.mix, civile.dan, or pwmanager.dan would probably be OK too. Use your best judgment.

If you choose a name that someone has already used, the screen will let you know that name is already in use and will suggest other similar names. Keep trying until you have chosen a name that is available.

Next, pick out a good password. Please do not use one that is easy for others to figure out. Google tries to help you as you try out different passwords by showing a red bar for weak ones and a green bar for strong ones.

Once you have a great username and password, you can go on to fill out your birthday, gender (which, by the way, does offer the choices of Male/Female/Other), phone number, and current email address. Yes, it does seem strange, but you need an email address to get another email address. Then, Google wants to make sure you are not a robot; I guess because robots are not yet allowed to have passwords. After you check the boxes to indicate you agree to Google's terms of service and other policies, you'll want to click the "Next Step" button.

Gmail Profile PageNow you should be at step two in the process: creating your profile. At this point, Google gives you the chance to upload a profile photo. If this is the first time you have created a profile online, you might want to wait — you can always update your profile later. And we'll cover creating profiles in the next post. However, if setting up your profile is nothing new to you, then go ahead and click the button that says "Add Profile Photo." Meanwhile, the rest of us will continue on by clicking the other button that says "Next step."

Google should now have taken you to step three, the welcome page. And now you can happily move on to explore your new Google account. Let's quickly check out our new Gmail. Go ahead and click the Gmail button in the ribbon at the top. Google will step you through another welcome and give you the chance to announce your new Gmail account to the world. I went ahead and clicked "No thanks" so I could get right into Gmail. If you did the same, your screen should look very similar to the image below.

Gmail screenshotWell, that's it for the email segment of this series. Stop back next time to check out our tips and hints for setting up profiles. In the meantime, feel free to check out all the other Google services listed across the top of your Google page.


















 
 

Comments (2 Total)

  • Posted by: nisar khan | Time: 8:35 AM Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    Google should now have taken you to step three, the welcome page. And now you can happily move on to explore your new Google account. Let's quickly check out our new Gmail. Go ahead and click the Gmail button in the ribbon at the top. Google will step you through another welcome and give you the chance to announce your new Gmail account to the world. I went ahead and clicked "No thanks" so I could get right into Gmail. If you did the same, your screen should look very similar to the image below. trying until you have chosen a name that is available. Next, pick out a good password. Please do not use one that is easy for others to figure out. Google tries to help you as you try out different passwords by showing a red bar for weak ones and a green bar for strong ones. Once you have a great username and password, you can go on to fill out your birthday, gender (which, by the way, does offer the choices of Male/Female/Other), phone number, and current email address. Yes, it does seem strange, but you need an email address to get another email address. Then, Google wants to make sure you are not a robot; I guess because robots are not yet allowed to have passwords. After you check the boxes to indicate you agree to Google's terms of service and other policies, you'll want to click the "Next Step" button

    Report this as offensive

  • Posted by: nisar khan | Time: 8:34 AM Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    nice idea

    Report this as offensive

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About the Blogger

Pam Broviak

thumbnail image A former senior editor of PUBLIC WORKS, Pam Broviak publishes the Public Works Group Blog at http://www.publicworksgroup.com/blog. (All views expressed in this blog are her own and not those of PUBLIC WORKS.)