Google is not always your friend, but digital and social networks are. Why? You can't control what gets said about you on your Google search but you can control what shows up on your Facebook.
Smart Insights published global social media statistics for January 2016. I urge you to click the link to see the whole comprehensive report.
There are 3.419 billion global Internet users, to which 2.307 billion are active in social media. There are 3.790 billion unique mobile users, and 1.968 billion of them are active in social media.
Facebook has the highest penetration of users between ages 18 to 34, then Snapchat and Instagram.
The most popular networks are in this order:
Social media isn't just a fad. It isn't just a personal thing. It is your connection to the world. How you use it will determine your experience.
If you shut everyone out except the people who are in your immediate circle, you miss out on personal growth and connections that could make the world a great big beautiful place.
If you use it to exclusively flog your wares, send a bunch of group direct messages, spam your friends with direct messages to "like" your page, you'll lose connections in a hurry and the ones you keep will just put you on mute.
If you keep an open mind and connect with people you don't know, even if you don't have any mutual connections, you never know what will happen. Of course, you can vet those requests by looking at the profile to see if there is any information that might flag them as a fake account. But connecting with people outside of your sphere can bring you many wonderful treasures: friendship, great and inspiring images, educational and informative posts, business leads, and close friendships that can even move offline.
I vet people by not only if they're a suspected fake profile (usually the army photo is a dead giveaway), but also by what they post on their timeline. If they post continual negative and racist/bigoted links, I will pass on connecting. It is my profile, my platform, and I get to control what I see in the feed. I've done a pretty good job. I don't get a lot of trash or people I have to unfriend.
Social media provides a true digital footprint because you control the outcome of your profile page. Your social pages determine the public's first impression of who you are as an individual. It determines if you are approachable. Will people regret trying to reach out to you? Or will you welcome their social sphere and allow others to champion you?