A Social Media Cheat Sheet

I was recently commissioned to produce an informal cheat sheet about social media and social networking. The aim of the project is to help Baby Boomers better understand their children and grandchildren, and to better navigate the ever-shifting currents of the intertubes, possibly to wade into the waters themselves.

At first I figured there must already be something out there, but the more I searched, the less I found. Aside from a typically dry and vague Wikipedia page and a bunch of charts geared towards designers or advertisers/SEO experts, there wasn’t much for the general public. But this is a good thing! Because it meant I could actually make a contribution to society (…I know, I’m laughing too).

By the time I finished the cheat sheet and shipped it off to the client, it had morphed into a detailed “educational supplement” and handy deskside reference to the web. (It looks great printed & laminated, too! It won’t be out of date for another few weeks, I promise!) During the design process I also realized that oh so many other people I’ve met could likely benefit from something similar—my own parents included.

So, I’m sharing it with you all here, for you to spread to anyone else in your lives who might benefit from increased internet fluency. Enjoy!

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*Caveats & Disclaimers*

  1. As I mentioned, this is an informal cheat sheet, not a dutifully fact-checked compendium. I put the bare minimum of research into this, relying mostly on my own knowledge base and personal internet explorations over the last decade or more. The “Core Audience” column in particular is half-sarcastic conjecture, with a dollop of intuition and a pinch of half-remembered data. I did try to get the “# of Users” column correct, though.
  2. Yes, I know I missed [insert your favorite niche social media site here]. Again, I stuck with the basics. But it’s hard to argue with importance of knowing at least half of my list, based on traffic alone.
  3. My Internet Glossary of Terms is also obviously woefully incomplete. But based on conversations I’ve had with n00bs and…people with accumulated wisdom, the few things I did include should give some useful perspective, with some bias toward my own interests.
  4. I don’t shy from using the full, glorious breadth of the English language, so if your grandmother’s neighbor is sensitive to swears, they are welcome to learn about this stuff from another source.

Learning the Wallflip

This past year I’ve been hanging out with the Penn Gymnastics Club, which is open to anyone with a PennCard. I decided to join since I realized that practicing basic parkour moves and elementary acrobatics in a safe environment full of experienced people and soft mats was probably a better idea than jumping around on concrete and grass while hungover (cough cough like the Collarbone Incident in 2005).

So I have been learning a lot and having a blast on the mats with my fellow club members.

It’s interesting—all of the women in the club have at least some experience in gymnastics (some are even part of Penn’s actual gymnastics team), but the majority of the guys in the club are, like me, amateurs looking to learn acrobatics for parkourish purposes.

But in any case, the following video was recorded a month or so ago (April 2008) and reveals my process as I finally learned how to wallflip. It’s quick, and it’s not pretty. But hopefully it is amusing.

I suppose the takeaway, though, is that it’s never too late to learn this stuff, since here I am at the ripe old age of 26 doing acrobatics for the first time.

The Collarbone Incident

Everything happens for a reason.
Life goes on.
We call our experiences to us.
Life has ups and downs; yin & yang: so go with the flow…

These and sundry other such platitudes kept me all warm and cuddly with positivity over the past week, since I seemed to have gone an’ done broke my collar-bone.

So, I was warming up to practice parkour, which, yes, can be sorta potentially injurious to various parts of the human body. But it’s so much fun! And quite useful, as both exercise and practice for when you might have to outrun bad guys in a race across a city, as you do. And besides, I am fit and healthy, and I stretch, and I warm up. Except the problem this time was the warmup itself—we had just started to practice and things were shaping up nicely (& safely!), when I got distracted, didn’t concentrate on my form when landing a jump, and rolled wrong. I went over my shoulder sideways instead of forward, so all the pressure of the roll went through my collarbone. Live & learn.

It was kinda cool—as I was sitting up out of the roll I heard/felt this visceral *pop*, blacked out for a split second, got lightheaded for a bit, and went into minor shock (hyperventilated and sweat profusely for an hour or so). There was virtually no pain though, neither then nor since. Just discomfiture and the feeling that your shoulder is falling off. Nothing too bad.

It was just really good that I realized/knew right away what had happened, so I didn’t move much, then slowly got up and walked to the ER while supporting my arm (thankfully HUP was only a few blocks away). In that way (by keeping it relatively immobile after it happened) I think I managed to not damage any organs, nerves, muscles, tendons, or ligaments.

The best part is that another friend was filming the action, since that’s what you do when parkour is happening, obviously, so there’s video footage of the break:

You can actually hear the *snap* at 11 seconds in.

Enjoy laughing at my pain and stupidity & wondering at my sanity! I know I would.


Post Script from much later:

Although I was told by the doctors that I could just let it heal as it was (overlapping the bone, which had snapped in half), I eventually opted for surgery. They put a long screw through my shoulder to hold the bone in place as it healed, then another surgery to take the screw out so it could finish healing.

I was given a huge prescription for Percocets or something like ’em, but only ended up taking 3—it just didn’t hurt that much. I later threw the bottle away, and I’ll admit that a part of me wished I had sold the rest of them instead, since that could have taken care of a chunk of my student loans for the semester. Or at least more of the other college essential bills: alcohol and books.

Aside from the hospital copays and the lessons learned (A. Don’t workout when my body’s telling me not to, B. Master the basics before moving on, C. Take it easy when hungover, and D. All of the above applies doubly so when doing parkour), the only other significant consequence was that my running habits were destroyed. I had been training for my second Philly Marathon that year, which went right out the window. I never really ran much again for another 4 years, actually, when I finally got back into it thanks to encountering these things called Tough Mudders. That’s another story.