TV Host Greta Van Susteren Dishes on Social Media

Greta has been using social media platforms since the early years in her career.  She says, “It’s not just the vast audience that makes social media so powerful, it’s the speed with which an image, idea or piece of information can move.”  Once a user masters emailing and texting, Greta says there are various social media platforms on which to communicate.  

  1. Facebook:  “If you are going to be on only one social media platform, Facebook is it,” she says.  It’s based on the concept of friends and institutions you choose to follow. Upload photos, create posts, and even obtain news articles. Greta encouraged Reverend Franklin Graham to create a Facebook profile and today he has surpassed her with more than 6 million likes on his page!
  2. Twitter: Posts originally based on 140-character messages, but in a surprise move in September 2017, Twitter increased the limit to 280 characters. Greta confesses to being a “Twitter addict.”   “Using Twitter is a lot like sending an online telegram,” she says.  She says “tweets” on Twitter can be nasty and hateful.  “It can also be funny, innovative and uplifting.”
  3. LinkedIn: In the professional world, LinkedIn is considered the new classified want ad space.  It offers a user the ability to list work/volunteer history, education, etc. It allows prospective employers to view a user’s page as well as email members a list of jobs open in their fields.
  4. Instagram: This is a social media platform that uses primarily photos or short videos with quick captions.  Posts are usually personal in nature.  Instagram users are likely to be urban and 90% are 35 and younger.
  5. Snapchat: This app allows people to take photos or short videos with their phones, add captions or doodles and then send them to followers.  After seconds, the image disappears.  More than 300 million people use their Snapchat accounts monthly.  Daily users are 166 million and climbing and they’re sending 3 billion snaps per day.
  6. Personal broadcasting: Facebook Live, Periscope, YouTube and Blogs are some of the ways to upload video.  “Livestreaming” is not without risks.  “Everything is shared,” warns Greta.  There are also restrictions on recording and streaming copyrighted material, like movies or music.  

“The social media revolution is not simply changing how we get our information,” says Greta.  “It is changing the most basic elements of human relationships.”  Recent studies show that in teens surveyed between 13 and 17 only 25% spent actual face-to-face time with friends outside of school every day, but 2/3 had made at least one new friend online.  Nearly 3/4 spend time on social media with their friends.  The downside: lack of privacy.  “Almost everything about you is public until you set it to private,” says Greta.  Teach kids not to post anything online that they wouldn’t say to someone’s face.  Some downsides to social media include cyber bullying, sexting (sending elicit photos of one’s body parts), scams (including clickjacking or clicking on an ad or article where scammers get paid for the number of clicks they get), security scams (where a message says your computer has been infected with a virus), etc.  The good news is that social media offers users freedom.  “Social media has given me a unique opportunity to help others,” says Greta.  “Social media is communication and communication will never stop.”  

Greta reminds users to be aware of how much time is spent on social media.  “When you’ve had enough, you can and should just shut it down,” she says.  The moment social media interferes with your real life, it’s time to log off.

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


TV News Anchor, formerly with Fox News, CNN and MSNBC

Author, Everything You Need to Know About Social Media (Without Having to Call a Kid): Simon & Schuster, 2017

Named as one of Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World six times

J.D., Georgetown University Law Center

Married to John P. Coale


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