Tag Archives: Social network

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.

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.

 

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.

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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Hidden messages in social media?

My audience is the MDST 485 class and the goal of this blog is to inform my fellow classmates about how our modern use of social media can have a negative impact on our lives and our well-being.

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You can see it in your Facebook timeline or Instagram gallery – a digital footprint of your mental health.

It’s not always hidden in the obvious hashtags or inspirational quotes, but rather interpreted through the subtle use of words that might be hinting … you’re feeling kind of blue.

And, literally, your photo feed will focus on the cool blues and grey tones in your pictures when you’re feeling blue. Your words reflect your negative energy, and your pictures will look as blue as your words sound. Along with your lessened posting comes the lessening of likes. Nobody will want to “like” your blue enhanced rainy day picture with sad song lyrics.

That’s exactly the problem. When we take to social media to express our emotions and show the rest of the world a little bit of our “real” life, nobody wants to see the real. We’re expected to show the highlights, the happy things that will make other people happy, too. Even when we are posting seemingly happy pictures, there are hidden clues that prove we aren’t as happy as is posted.

The words we use are more telling about our mental health than we realize. This tool analyzes text and examines the words we’re using in order to tell us more about our emotional state.

Analyze your own Tweets using this free tool at http://analyzewords.com/

The Castells reading talked about how we can change the behaviors of others through the use of social marketing. Even if this type of direct marketing isn’t 100% effective, it’s still a positive way to connect with an audience and spread a message. Sharing positive messages, whether that be for the sake of advertising or through our own personal updates, is infectious to the attitudes of others. Once we address our own behaviors and make positive changes, we can influence others positively through social media.

Benefits of Social Media

Audience: millennials and to show the positives of social media.

In my last blog I focused on a negative side of social media and the way it affected children growing into teenagers with the access to social media. Although in this post I have focused on the positives and why social media should be used as a valuable tool.

In David Meerman Scott’s book The New Rules of Marketing and PR he talks about social media being a tool and how valuable it is for so many avenues. In Chapter 17 he talks about podcasting and how this tool can be used to get your message out to the world. In my article they didn’t talk very much about podcast’s so I wanted to reference David Scott’s focus on how podcasts is apart of social media and are very valuable tool. In the article I focused on how they talked about social media platforms like instagram, facebook, twitter, and youtube and how they could be beneficial to people living in a world where social media has huge influence. One of the main arguments in my article focused on how social media allows you maintain social connections and networks. Also about the quick access and how fast news travels on social media and how these are huge components that if we were to take away a lot of opportunity’s and connections would dissolve. The researchers talked about how this idea of social networking that is happening through social media is build skills for people that you can’t get in other experiences of isolation. Social networking services are designed to support users working, thinking and acting together. They also require listening and compromising skills to be able to be effective through social media. They talk about people that grow up in this social media era world having better exploring and learning skills. As well as being more independent and building resilience at a faster rate because of the experiences that social media provides. At the end of the article they talk about how all these skills will develop certain skills at a faster rate to be better at any profession you may choose. 

I believe the article had very valid points about how and why social media is a valuable tool. Although countering that social media still has it’s negative but should never be dismissed as not a valuable tool in a media driven world.Social-Media-e1518208936600

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This three-part blog series is directed to social media users, students, and every individual that has access to the media. Part 2 of our blog series will be discussing how to utilize social media. It will be addressing students, parents, and everyone else who needs to put their networking skills to use.

There is no doubt social media has many benefits, but there is more to connecting with individuals besides browsing, liking, and clicking on their profile pics. We need to able to get out of our comfort zones and connect with like-minded individuals to network and look for support. In this tech-driven society we have so much access to valuable information at our fingertips. Why not use it to our advantage? social media connects the entire world, and it makes it easy to spread information if you are utilizing it correctly.  Social media gives you a platform in which you will be able to share messages and information you are passionate about with a large audience in a matter of seconds. It gives you a voice and can trigger change, just by  reaching out to connections in your social media platforms like; FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. In our text Castells states,

“Humans create meaning by interacting with their natural and social environment, by networking with their neural networks with the networks of nature and with social networks.” Communicating effectively and exchanging information is the way to transfer messages to your network.”

The ability to understand the variety of social platforms will help you understand how to reach your audience. The language and audience is different across the social media platforms. If you want to reach a more professional audience you probably wouldn’t use Snapchat, each social media channel has different ways to communicate with the audience and a different voice. Effectively timing and crafting your messages in such a way to reach your audience can help you better network.

#deletefacebook & “1984”

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In my last blog, I talked about the current state of social media, while referencing recent events such as the Parkland mass shootings, as well as our class reading, “Social Media is Bullshit?” I came to the conclusion that social media isn’t “bullshit”, and that it’s simply a tool. And as with all tools, it can be used for good or bad.

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about social media being used…again as a bad tool. #deletefacebook is a current campaign to, as the hashtag states, delete the Facebook application from our lives. The reason for this action against Facebook is because the company shared peoples info with other entities, some harmless and some harmful.

Personally, I find it ironic and humorous that people are punishing a company for sharing info that individuals are freely sharing. We are at a crossroads as a society, and at some point we’ll have to make a decision whether or not to exist in complete transparent lives.

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Do you remember the George Orwell novel, “1984”? The book is set in a fictional province of the superstate Oceania, whose citizens are victims of ongoing war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public manipulation. Even though it was published in 1949, the troubling societal themes reverberate today. This novel seems to be a prescient reflection of the current and future state of social interaction.

So what is the end game? There’s so much access to people, their information…almost everything with the right resources. I think we need to look to the mechanisms that are ultimately behind all of this.

Stay tuned for the next blog where I discuss the future of social media and humanity’s downfall.

Social Media, You’re Stressing Me Out

My audience is the MDST 485 class and the goal of this blog is to inform my fellow classmates about how our modern use of social media can have a negative impact on our lives and our well-being.

Three billion people are using social media – and we’re spending an average of 2 hours every day browsing among social platforms. With so much time being spent emotionally buried by the online world, how is this affecting our personal lives? Our well-being?

It seems as though when the day is over and our work is complete, there’s still something to stress about. We nervously post a picture on Facebook hoping that it gets enough “likes” to make us feel good, but at what cost? The virtual world of Facebook likes will follow us throughout the day and night, haunting both our dreams and our daydreams. The problem with social media is that it never ends. It almost feels like it’s impossible to turn it off. While scrolling through our feeds looking at cute puppies and cookie recipes, we’re also reading the negativity posted by others who are looking to vent. Even if we don’t comment or get involved with that negativity, it affects our mindset and adds more stress to our thoughts. Venting online can feel good for a brief amount of time. But social media is turning into a trap for all our emotions. And those emotions follow us around wherever we go, creating unnecessary stress in our lives.

The reading by Castells discussed how the Internet absorbs information and retains that information for a long time. When that information all over our Facebook feed is emotional and personally related to us, it can get hard to digest over time. BBC is exploring how social media affects our well-being in their series #LikeMinded, and they hope to provide solutions that could help us all live a happier, healthier digital life.

http://www.bbc.com/future/columns/likeminded