Tag Archives: Social Media

Social Media: The Digital Layer of Your Identity

For my final blog in this series on social media and how it influences the way we communicate and interact with one another, I decided to take a look at how social media makes us feel and how our perceptions of other people’s lives on social media influence the way we perceive ourselves.

I’ve used various forms of social media since about 2003. I’m a self-proclaimed internet junkie, most people who know me well would agree.  My experience using social media has been, in general, a positive experience. I’ve stayed connected to friends that moved across the country, or to another country entirely. I’ve established and maintained relationships in the music industry simply from exchanging Facebook information at music festivals. I’ve also been able to keep track of my nephews and my niece as they go through the stages of infancy, toddler, and early childhood. All of those things are positive aspects of using social media. The internet breaks down geographical barriers. It allows us to insert ourselves into other people’s lives without being intrusive, as long as the content of your friends and families lives are posted on the internet.

However, through my own experience I’ve noticed that during times when I am not feeling great about myself, I tend to envy the lives of other people when I’m using social media. That vacation to Europe that your friend is going on, a major job update from a high school friend that you expected to be “doing better” than pops into your news feed, a friend finding their soul mate and posting every minuscule update of their life together distracts you as your are recovering from a major break-up, and the list goes on. It’s easy to get wrapped up in other people’s lives, especially when you are not in a pleasant state of mind.

More than ever, research is being conducted and published regarding how social media influences our lives and shapes the way we interact with one another. An article I just read from Indiana University claims, “[T]his analysis contributes to a growing body of evidence that social media may be harmful to users who ‘overindulge’ in these services since it’s nearly impossible to escape negative comparisons to their friends’ popularity and happiness,” 

John Bollen explains his findings after data-mining Twitter.  I am somewhat shocked to hear some of Indiana University’s findings. I would have guessed that the more deeply connected someone is to social media, and the higher number of people that we interact with, would cause a negative effect but in fact it is the opposite. Perhaps the model of social media consumption is creating a false sense of happiness that is only being propped up by the dopamine purging loop that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter put us in (I discussed this topic in my last blog if you want to learn more about that topic).

All of that being said, I think that social media is a useful tool for professionals and individuals for their social life. I can’t sit here and say that it’s all bad or it’s all good. A quote from Quarry’s Communication for Another Development chapter links in well with the topic at hand. “Like a chameleon, communication is embedded in international development. It changes color to reflect the development thinking of the day…”

I believe this quote ties into social media’s influence on our perception of other people because social media’s use is multifaceted so our behavior on said social media must be multifaceted. I also believe that if we focus on the positive reasons why we use social media and mitigate our time spent on social media when our objective is done (i.e. catch up with friends, see what’s going on in the sports/music/entertainment/political world, or say “hi” to a few friends) then we log off and actually live our life we can avoid this phenomena of social media induced depression and envy.

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Benefits of Social Media On: Businesses

It is obvious by now that social media has taken over the way that people and companies advertise and communicate, but how? The changes are significant and have their benefits. In this three-part blog series, I will be explaining the benefits of social media’s influence on three major subjects: visual media, music artists, and businesses. These posts will hopefully be informative to those who don’t know about the benefits in relation to these topics, as well as entertain those who do know the benefits, and hopefully teach them something they don’t know. 

Welcome!

Over the course of the last two posts I talked about the benefits of social media on visual media and music artists. This time, I will explain how social media benefits startups and existing businesses.

The rise of social media has created a new way for businesses to market themselves in clever ways while simultaneously reaching a wide audience, for relatively low cost. Matt Risinger, a sort of building scientist, discovered the advantage of using YouTube to promote his business. As quoted in The New Rules of Marketing and PR, Risinger said,”I didn’t get huge traction at first, but I kept going. Even though I might have only 300 views on a video, one of those people watching might be an architect in Austin who would say something to me. Or maybe it was a potential client who watched before they interviewed me for their project. They felt like they knew me at a meeting—even though I’d never met them before—because they could watch a video of me. I got enough feedback that made me realize this was worthwhile” (Scott, 2017 p. 97). This is a textbook example of how video content can benefit a business. Picking this quote apart, we not only see that video content is obviously helpful for visually showing off a product or service, but it can be used to instill a feeling of confidence, or credibility for the business and its people. Risinger started out with a cheap camera and little viewers, but now has a larger audience and much higher quality video content.

By now it is not too difficult to figure out how businesses can exclusively benefit from social media, but Business2Community.com mentioned one benefit that maybe isn’t everyone’s first thought. This benefit is called competitive analysis, and this is what Dhariana Lozano of Business2Community.com has to say about it: “You can use social media to target your competition’s fans, see what they may be doing that you can improve on – or simply identify ways to stand out within your industry” (Lozano, 2016).  This is an interesting angle that seems only achievable on social media, where all marketing is focused and public.

There obviously are more advantages for businesses who utilize social media, but I covered a couple here in this post.

It is east to see how much social media platforms have positively affected many people and entities such as visual media, music artist, and businesses. I hope that over the course of these posts, you have learned something and have a positive outlook on social media.

Thank you for reading!

Sources:

https://www.business2community.com/social-media/10-key-benefits-social-media-business-01461178

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: 6th Edition by David Meerman Scott (2017)

 

The Future of Social Media

Future-of-social-mediaIn my past two blog posts, I discussed the current state of social media in society, and the fact the social media is merely a tool that can be used for good or evil depending on the user. This week, I’ll wrap up this three-week series and focus on social media by prognosticating about the future of the medium and media.

All of the largest social media platforms and the people who facilitate them are listening to us intently. They’re collecting, analyzing, using, buying and selling any information through our devices. In a CNBC article, an industry professional, Otis Kimzey, says “The most dramatic change by 2039 will not only be the amount of data that will be available to everyone but also the decision-making power of that data. We currently have thermostats that learn our preferences, watches that take our pulse, and Nike even knows how often and how fast we run, and this is just the beginning.” (Wellons, M. C., “11 Predictions on the future of social media”, https://www.cnbc.com/2014/10/02/11-predictions-on-the-future-of-social-media.html)

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It’s frightening to ponder who is in control of that enormous amount of data and how it could be used to manipulate the public. We’ve already had a taste of this in the last presidential election. The findings are becoming increasingly clear that the Russians used social media and media to influence the election results to their benefit.

This possibility was alluded to in this week’s reading, “Communication for Development”, by Wendy Quarry and Ricardo Ramirez. In the book, they write, “It illustrates how a well-designed campaign, which utilizes media intelligently, and which orchestrates other tangible action on the ground, can lead to awareness-raising and behavioural change.” (Quarry and Ramirez, p. 20) However, I’m not sure if this statement also includes negative behavioral change.

The reason I mentioned the social media platforms and media previously is because at the end of the day, these are massive corporations with vast amounts of wealth and power. And having studied economics, it’s not the nature of corporations in a capitalistic market to make less profit, no matter what the costs. So what does this mean for the public? If corporations’ end-game is to sustain profitability, how will all our data be leveraged? Do you have trust in the billionaires of the world to not exploit us for their personal gain?

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Through my organization, The DIAL Group, where we leverage the talents of artists to assist communities, one of our programs is to teach youth digital media skills and to use the technology responsibly. We do this by training then, and them having them work on a service learning project. Although I believe my organization and I are doing the right thing by educating youth about technology through digital media, I personally don’t have a that much hope for the future of social media, based on the past couple of decades it’s been in existence, but maybe the next generation will be different that all the generations that came before them.

 

How to stay happy on social media

My audience is the MDST 485 class and the goal of this blog is to inform my fellow classmates how to use social media in a way that won’t negatively impact their well-being.

Social media is considered a fun way to stay in touch with your friends and family, but it can also cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Keep your mental health in check and consider these ways to make social media a happier place.

1. Keep your phone out of your bedroom.

Use an alarm clock instead of depending on your phone’s alarm to wake you up in the morning. Having your phone on the nightstand is a distraction, and only brings unnecessary technology and the drama that comes with it into your bedroom. Keep your bedroom phone-free so that you can get a good night’s sleep!

2. Adjust what you can see on your feed.

Facebook has options to limit posts from certain friends, or to remove certain content altogether. Utilize this tool to make your feed more enjoyable. Whatever that means for you, do it!

3. Set aside daily periods of non-screen time.

We’ve all experienced that awkward 10 minute break where every single person in the room stares at their phone, sitting in silence and ignoring the people around them. Stop doing that! Make a conscious effort to do something other than check your phone during these breaks and especially first thing when you wake up in the morning. Make an effort!

4. Tell people you’re detoxing.

Your friends will continue to bug you and be personally offended if you don’t reply to all the funny memes they’ve sent you. Make sure to let people know you’re taking a break from social media so that they understand why your online presence is suddenly dark.

5. Fill the void.

If you use that void of free time with nothing better to do as an excuse to check your phone, do something else! Try striking up a conversation with the person next to you instead. And if you really struggle with endlessly scrolling through social media at the end of the day, try doing something else during that time to fill your media hunger. Watch a movie, call your mom, leave your house, whatever! There are lots of entertainment options that are more fulfilling than staring at your phone.

There you have it! Simple ways to keep you happy while still keeping up with the online world. Social media is a great tool for communication, as long as we’re in control of our communication methods and how they make us feel.

Is social media the communication method of the future?

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My goal for my third post is to discuss if social media is going to continue to be the communication method of the future. The third topic I would like to discuss is the future for social media and what that means for communication. My audience for this posting would be anyone who uses social media, students and teachers in this class, anyone in the communication field and anyone who uses social media for communication.

This week’s reading discusses communication for development. It says that ‘mobile phones have created opportunities that we never dreamt of and two-way communication is exploding all over the internet.’ Do you think that social media can assist in developing communication for the future?

I, myself am not so sure. I think it’s gotten to the point where communication has felt like it has become so impersonal. When people see their phone ringing for a phone conversation they will deny the call, then proceed to text that person, did you call in hopes of avoiding a phone conversation. I have personally noticed this at work with both myself and co workers. We rely so heavily on email, texting and other impersonal modes of communication that we do anything we can to avoid people coming into the office and phone conversations. My boss will kindly have to remind all of us that email is good to track infromation but there is definitely a time and place that a phone call or in person meeting is warranted and that we shouldn’t forget that.

In addition, with technology continuing to advance, it’s increasing the unique ways we can communicate with one another. For companies, according to getvoip.com, this includes but not limited to live chat or video call option with staff on websites, opt-in text messaging notifications, mobile friendly account access, 24 hour customer service, social media personality. I have used the live chat option on clothing websites and am a huge fan. I feel that it get’s the information I need quicker and makes me feel taken care of.

It’s unsure of social media will continue to be the communication method of the future but I think from the way things have been going there is a strong chance that it will continue on that path.

Social Media Use At Work

Have you ever used social media at work? Chances are likely yes. It’s seems like the vast majority of our society is pinned down underneath the death grip that is known as social media.  Since it either exists or augments nearly every aspect of our life it should come to no surprise that social media use in the workplace is common and often a distraction.  Technology has always had a “pros” and “cons” column, with markings on each side of the T-chart. Same can be said about social media use in the workplace; it has pros and cons.  In recent years, I’ve been fascinated with Germany’s economy and their outlook on employment. Recently, Germany’s workers won the right to a 28-hour work week. Isn’t that incredible? Germany is an economic powerhouse with a low inflation rate, the 4th nominal GDP worldwide, highly educated population, and the list goes on! (here is more info).

You want to know another interesting statistic about Germany’s workforce? Germany is leading the world in the least amount of social media use at work. They also have the fewest amount of internet users using social media. I might be trying to connect two dots without proven cause and effect here, but I think something can be said about the level of productivity, the shrinking work week, and booming economy to the absence of social media at work.

Well, let’s go back to our metaphorical T-chart from two paragraphs ago. We the cons of social media use at work have been covered here, but the pros have not.  Since social media use is so prevalent in our lives in the United States it is a vital way how we stay connected. There is undoubtedly ways that social media helps if used properly at work. Professional networking groups are dime a dozen all across Facebook, LinkedIn is a social media site dedicated to professional connections an career building, and Twitter is a great marketing tool. The internet is a tool for marketing today much like magazines were a marketing tool 50 years ago. A section of an assigned reading for school I recently read discussed the similarities from a self-help book written by Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People and marketing books written today.  If used properly, social media can be used as a communication tool to benefit an organization or company. But, sadly, most of the time we end up wasting time looking at cat memes and getting into politically charged fights with strangers.

There is a middle ground somewhere out there, we just need to adjust our behavior and our habits built around technology use.

Gen Z

We hear constant banter and micro-aggression about millennial, but how about Gen Z? We hear about how much social media is constantly changing and how we continue to use it more and more. It is such an integral part of life and everyone uses it. When you look at it though, Gen Z is getting driven away by social medias. For all social media does, it has negative trends as well. Social Media is something that can be overwhelming, all the information that is getting pushed into the eyes of Gen Z may be harmful, especially considering the young age.

In Social Media is bullshit, it is stated that ” if you’re considering using the social networks and publishing tools on the Web to create something… use them, but remember, not using them won’t harm you in any way” (Mendelon, 2012, p. 154). It’s a word of caution. Social Media is a tool, not the end all be all. So when you see that Gen Z is quitting social media, make sure you cater to them.

Gen Z is in a world were everything revolves around the internet and social platforms, they know no diffrent. I grew up with something like Myspace, still new and unsophisticated. Most importantly, it wasn’t bombarded with ads and companies that fit an algorithm  to connive it’s way to consumers.

Social Media is a tool, but it can be just if not more overwhelming with the level of information being fed to Gen Z.

 

 

#HandsOffSyria

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My audience for this blog post is my fellow students as well as other individuals looking to educate themselves on social media or social platforms.

Through my last two blog posts, I have written about how social media or any type of social platform can be used to not only spread awareness but to start a social movement as well. On Saturday, the U.S. decided to bomb Syria along with the U.K. and France. There were a variety of different responses to this attack but this sparked a new hashtag called Hands Off Syria. Through this hashtag, people are showing what Syria looked like before the seemingly endless war started as well as the problems with the long history of the U.S. creating their own terrorist attacks but not calling them that. This hashtag brings light into the horrible acts that have been orchestrated by the U.S. over the past decade. In order for something to stop, it needs to be discussed which is what is being generated by this platform.

Twitter allows for so many different people to share their opinions as well as find a commonality with others to spread awareness and even make a difference just as was mentioned by John Coate (1998) in “Cyberspace innkeeping: Building online community”. I hope by reading my last three blog posts, readers have been able to see change for their eyes themselves and understand the importance of social media as a different platform than the rest.

Generate Buzz Through Positive Outlets

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The audiences for this post are my classmates. My goal is to continue on with my theme of how we use social media as a tool for good or evil (yes, I know my perspective is subjective).

Social media has the power to connect us with people and ideas from across the globe; this tool can be used for good or evil. I prefer to seek positive exchanges and found a community that’s trying to save the world through mitigating their waste. My thoughts are, how we can use conscious consumerism as a solution to our current ecological problems? Nobody wants to be told what to do… Unless it’s by someone you respect and trust. Buzz Agents (Struthers and Wang pg. 219) is a concept based off of using peers as a more reliable source of information through social media campaigns that incorporates a cooperative aspect with an authentic non-commercialized influencer or “Buzz Agent”. If you’re trying to raise awareness to an issue, gaining a relationship with your audience through sharing manageable and functional actions they can take to contribute to your message is an essential instrument for causing a larger affect. I follow The Wasted Blog, here the author is on a journey to becoming a more conscious consumer by using items that are long-lasting and not disposable. It’s difficult to change the way people do things on a daily basis but by bringing attention to simple alternatives that can have a big impact on our world for the better, Buzz Agents can flip the narrative and offer a positive outlet. Use your platforms as a way to spread some positive vibes.

Communication Through Social Media

Audience: Millennials

Through history our communication technique’s and skills have changed and evolved because of social media. There was a time where the internet was not around and the way we communicated was strictly through phone, letter or a face to face interaction. Social media has changed the way  we will forever communicate with people, friends and family from all over the world.

One thing researchers focused on was the personal barrier that is broken down through social media. People venting and releasing their problems on social media has became a normal thing. So before social media people wouldn’t have a conversation with their coworker’s about personals things. Although now with social media and people already having those things out there makes the conversation more approachable. Another point they focused on was how communication has changed though social media and how we short phrase everything. We have developed new words for other words or instead writing out words we abbrievate for example I don’t Know instead we would say idk which would be its short phrase. Some researchers have talked about how these things can actually be negative in the academic environment with performance because this is not the proper communication style. Although should schools have a focus on this new age communication because it may not be going  anywhere? Also a point researchers focused on was the access to communicate with thousands of people from around the world is what makes communication through social media so great. This gives us ability to reach a bigger audience and interact with more people. In Chapter 5 Castell talks about the influence of technology and internet how big of impact it will play into our culture. We have all seen changes that is already happen to our culture and there will continue to be changes for how we communicate through social media we just hope they help our culture in a positve way.

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