You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘social media’ category.

The Internet, no doubt the most significant technological advancement in the 21st century, brought countless new forms of communication that connect people around the globe. Email, chat rooms, blogs and other Web tools allow us to connect with people from places we have never seen and might never even go to. People with common interests build online relationships without ever meeting face-to-face and online dating is one of the Internet’s biggest and highest-grossing industries.

Of course, we also interact with friends, family and others whom we know “In Real Life” via the Internet. Facebook, the most popular of all social networks, allows us to find and keep in touch with former colleagues and classmates. But is posting a message to a friend’s page as personal as a phone call or lunch date? Do we ignore our “Real” relationships for online buddies? In other words…

Is social media making us less social?

amandafaceAmanda:

This clip from the movie Wall-E is all too close to reality for me (you only need to watch about 30 seconds from this link to get my point). We are so consumed by electronic communication that we are losing touch with actual person-to-person interaction. I’m guilty as well – I feel incredibly lost and awkward if I leave my cell phone at home and go in public alone. But sometimes I think we are so caught up in our digi-lives that we forget what REAL interaction feels like.

chrisface2Chris:

IMO, social media isn’t replacing “real life” communication so much as it is facilitating interactions that otherwise wouldn’t happen. Between mobile Internet devices and applications designed to run in the background (a la TweetDeck), professionals engaging in social media are making the most out of their time — and making the most of their “self-diagnosed ADHD“. Although responding to tweets or commenting on a blog post isn’t as rich as F2F interaction, I don’t see folks canceling meetings because they’re too busy updating their Facebook page or growing their online network.

Amanda:

I agree growing your network is extremely important, but quality still trumps quantity. I might be connected to potential employers via social media, but if I don’t do anything to build those relationships, what does it matter? It’s great we’re able to meet people around the world online, but until there is some quality, one-on-one effort, do you really feel connected to an avatar? SM is a good icebreaker, as Chuck Hemann pointed out in a comment on our first post, but if you don’t build on every relationship, what’s the point? You might have 14,789 “buddies” on Facebook, but how many would you actually call your friends?

Chris:

Though don’t yet have 14,000-some FB friends, I do admit that the age of information overload is upon us, and it applies to social networking just as much as it does to digital content. As the number of SM adapters continues to grow, the number of people bombarding us to “connect” will also grow. But I fail to see how this is a bad thing. Granted the ratio of quality relationships to total connections will always be fairly small, value comes in two distinct forms: 1) the sheer number of leads that can come from a large online network (think the long tail) and 2) the few digital connections that proliferate IRL that wouldn’t have happened without SM. Though it’s impossible to build on EVERY connection, it may just take one relationship to make a difference.

Amanda:

Okay, I agree there are a few cases when social media is the best way to connect without being too creepy. Facebook is a great way to “see” friends who have moved away or to semi-stalk your ex to make sure his new girlfriend isn’t that cute. HOWEVER, I think social media is making us lazy in too many of our relationships. Yea, I could call my high school friends to see what they did last weekend, but I won’t. It’s a lot easier to just visit their SM pages, read other people’s comments and click through their photo albums. I know I’m not the only one who “keeps in contact” with most of her old friends this way, but I bet I’m also not the only one who gets mad at herself for limiting these friendships to online “interactions.”

Chris:

I have nearly 800 friends on Facebook – a virtual collection of people I’ve met F2F at least once. But connecting with these folks through social media doesn’t weaken our relationships. Interaction in the online world allows me to stay on top of what my friends and family are doing without a phone call. I can see pictures from my friend’s vacation hiking in the southwest, and get a better idea of how the vacation went then I ever could from a phone call. Then I can follow up with a phone call and and talk about the pictures.

But the best part about SM, is its ability to connect me to people I might otherwise forget. I’ll be honest: I’m not always going to take the time to call my second cousin, or the guy who lived down the hall from me sophomore year, but if I see they’ve posted pics on Facebook or tweeted something cool, chances are I’ll check it out and send them a note – it’s not the most genuine of connections, but more than would happen otherwise.

Amanda:

Yea, SM lets us make many more connections than we otherwise would, but using social media is much different than depending on it. I think this Coleman ad campaign says it perfectly – it reminds us what social interaction should be. While I’ll probably never give up my SM addiction (a minor problem, compared to some), I still say I’d rather fully immerse myself in the experience and enjoy life than tweet about it all the time, thinking other people care. ‘Cause at the end of the day, I can have a million followers but if my strongest relationship is with my laptop, I won’t be happy. Maybe you see things differently, but I still feel too much social media gets in the way of Real Life. I say put down the Blackberry and wherever you are, be all there.

Chris:

While I’m not here to debate my social media addiction (let’s just say I’m definitely in Amanda’s “some” category), I will maintain that these tools ultimately foster relationships more than they destroy them. Like the folks in the Coleman ads, I too like to live my life deliberately, but I see emerging digital communication platforms as tools to help me do so.
image courtesy of Marketing Weblog & singlemindedwomen.com

As the traditional 9-to-5 workday collapses and we begin to share more of ourselves through social media sites, the line between our personal and professional lives is being drawn thinner every day. We are constantly trying to balance our personal and professional relationships on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, raising the question of how personal our personal branding should be. Even President Barack Obama chimed in on the debate, warning the nation’s youth “to be careful about what you post on Facebook … in the YouTube age.”

For our first-ever Budding Heads PR post, we ask the question:

Should you censor your online personality for the sake of your professional life?

Chris:  Trying to separate your social online persona from your professional online image is not only impossible, but will result in a lack-luster personal branding effort.

chris promptI’ve wrestled with the term “personal branding” for a long time and am finally deciding to make a stance on how I feel about these two words: THEY’RE STUPID.

While I understand the value of creating a consistent “brand” in the traditional marketing sense of the word, applying this idea to oneself is hypocritical and inauthentic. To me, creating a “personal brand” means deciding who others want you to be and trying to portray that fictional persona to the world.

Often, for young professionals, this means hesitating to share on social networking sites. It means de-tagging pictures on Facebook and making sure your LinkedIn profile picture is a snapshot of you in job interview form.

But why? Why try to be someone you’re not? Aren’t you good enough being JUST YOU?

I am who I am, NOT who I say I am. (And, no, I’m not trying to be Eminem *profanity warning on link.) Granted that perception is reality, as a young professional entering the digital landscape, my words and actions will shape these perceptions. What I do defines who I am. Nothing I say can change that.

My point is that actions have always and will always speak louder than words. If you’re doing one thing and saying another, you’re not transparent, thus breaking one of the cardinal rules of Grunig’s Excellent Public Relations.

Ultimately, the falsified personal brands will be seen for what they really are. Rubish. But that’s to say that folks who are creating a false sense of themselves are even noticed. All too often, young pros fail to take advantage of the personal and professional networking opportunities in SM. If they do engage, they have their trigger finger on the delete & de-tag buttons, fearing that what they do in their personal lives will haunt them in their professional lives.

I say: Get Real.

To me, refraining from being yourself in the online world is like censoring your life. Doctoring your thoughts and actions online to fit into some type of SM normalcy is a bad move. This type of personal branding (READ: life censoring) will leave a young pro lost in a sea of SM celibates, appearing uninspired or unaware of the importance of online networking.

Engage intelligently, but engage authentically.

Amanda: Controlling one’s social media image is necessary to maintain personal integrity and the respect of both professional and personal colleagues.

amandaIt’s okay, Kanye, we all make mistakes.

Tales of public figures’ youthful mistakes have been scrutinized for centuries – think Washington and the cherry tree – but new technology will cement this generation’s mistakes online forever.

When we were kids, gossip was word-of-mouth hearsay, whereas today’s kids can prove who kissed whom at Sarah’s party – with pictures. Students interact with friends via social media, but they are also sending that information to the world when they click “upload.”

This idea applies to all of us – would you show your mom that pic of you bonging a beer?  Do you want a potential employer’s first impression of you to include a “sexy cat” costume? Do you think anyone WANTS to know that chili at lunch gave you heartburn?

Of course, there are countless examples of people getting into trouble because of social media  . We’ve all heard ‘em – and most of us realize posting pictures from Halloween that just happened to be the same day you were “sick” is a bad idea.

When it comes to making questionable decisions, I’m guilty as any college student. Do I have fun with my friends on weekends? Sure. But do I want my boss to see on Twitter that I’m “nursing an AWFUL hangover”? No, thanks. (You can bet I’ll be whining to someone, though.)

And what if someday you become more than just another person, but a public figure? If your not-so-proud moments are embedded in the Web, there’s a better chance than ever they will come back to haunt you. Michael Phelps found that out the hard way.

I’m not saying we should take our personalities completely out of social media, but we need to make sure we’d be comfortable letting anyone and everyone – in our professional and personal circles – into our lives. If you can maintain your integrity with that post or picture, go for it.

Last point I’ll make: Those annoying social media mavens – the ones who post every 5 seconds about where they are or what they’re eating – doesn’t it seem a little egotistical? Do we like to just hear ourselves type? Maybe I’m missing something, but is there anything wrong with a little self-censorship?

images courtesy of : atr.org & valleywag.gawker.com