For the past four months, I have been enrolled in a class called Social Media & Digital Communications. During this class, I was assigned to create this WordPress blog, which has opened me up to many wonders and possibilities of the Internet. I discovered that I love blogging, promoting and researching current events and interesting global news. I enjoy trying new social media sites like LinkedIn, Foursquare and Tumblr, while also attempting new mediums of expression such as podcasts and videos.
Though my interests and passions have been sparked in many ways, they have also dwindled in others. I realized how much I have relied on social media throughout my life without even realizing. Now, I more honestly see how the use of social media affects my life – primarily Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I looked into research (as mentioned in attached podcast recording) that depicted peoples’ use of social media and our capacity to maintain relationships, etc. I don’t need as many Facebook friends, I don’t need to scroll through all my apps before I get out of bed, I DON’T need to post photos of everything I do in real life on multiple social platforms – and neither do you.
The most important thing I have taken from this course is that social media and digital communications are extremely useful and simultaneously wonderful. They allow us to have access to so much the world has to offer. However, we must take care not to distance ourselves too much from the real world.
• Spend a certain amount of time outside everyday – fresh air and nature are key ingredients to happiness
• Maintain healthy relationships – spend time with friends and family, socialize in person!
• Experience things and be fully there – don’t miss out because you were busy documenting
• Value your education, learn all you can, be attentive
• Remain calm and relaxed – detach from your computers, tablets and smart phones
• Make room for passions in your life, not just straining your eyes and thumbs on your touch screens…go hiking, learn to crochet, read a book, take up photography, travel, play piano – work and reward
• Live to the fullest – if you aren’t happy, perhaps you need to reevaluate what’s most important to you
With that said: back to my experience during this course, blogging and the key takeaways. I may preach until I am blue in the face about how important the things other than social media are, but I certainly think social media is great in moderation. It provides a great way to express ourselves in a healthy, communicative and intelligent way. For example, as a project for the course, we each wrote and recorded our own podcasts on a subject of our choice. Watch the video attached to hear mine! This project was great. We looked into current social media issues and what techniques and qualities make the best podcast. We utilized many skills for the course, while maintaining a great interest in the subject because we selected the topic.
I recommend to any fellow college students out there to take a course focused on the significance of social media. There’s much more to it than updating Facebook statuses and posting photos, I’ll tell you that!
Keep looking for more posts from me, everyone! I will likely be expanding my content to subjects other than social media, but will keep some similar content as well. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!
I recently read an article about Ben & Jerry’s social media marketing campaign that caught my eye. Ever hear of “Free Cone Day?” I participated in the event last year at their shop in Manchester, VT. It’s when Ben & Jerry’s serves anyone and everyone with one, free regular cone of any flavor they choose on the first day of their open season. The tactic they chose to promote this event spread the message like wildfire across the U.S. through social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more: the huge component being the use of their hashtag, #FreeConeDay.
They ended up reaching over 10% of the entire population. Ben & Jerry’s goals were the following:
1) Engage a global audience
2) Drive awareness about the event and traffic to their stores
3) Fuel customer participation that would propel word-of-mouth and increase their brand reach
All it took was a paid promotion through Twitter. Once people saw the ad, they shared, and shared…and shared. I find this story so particularly interesting because it shows how incredibly far a small investment in advertising can take a business. As a junior business student interested mostly in marketing, Ben & Jerry’s success is awesome and super exciting. Social media is hugely transforming the business world. Can any of my readers enlighten me about some good marketing success stories? Thanks, and to those approaching finals right now like I am…good luck!
Recently, I’ve started to notice that more of my friends (ages 18-25) are deleting their Facebook accounts, posting less, responding less frequently to private messages and spending lots of time on other social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and Tumblr. I’ve also heard some buzz about the number of users nation-wide decreasing as well.
Apart from trying some classic Google searches, I tried to think about what I could personally come up with as for why people might be losing interest. I generated a list of possible annoyances my fellow generation may have experienced (that I feel mutually annoyed about), causing them to give up or decrease Facebook use:
- Increased use of sidebar ads and promoted pages that show up at any given time
- Facebook’s tendency to spy on your other Internet browsing activities, and show you ads according to these activities (a pair of boots I was thinking of buying were displayed on my sidebar from Overstock.com for about two weeks)
- By clicking on someone’s profile one time, Facebook thinks you want to see that person’s every post or activity displayed on your newsfeed – your newsfeed then shows the activity of about 20 random people out of the 500 you are friends with, plus a small handful of the people you interact most with
- Most of what people post is about some silly status game, where if you “like” the post, they will assign you what to do next in the game (i.e. List a number of facts about yourself, list things you like, or dislike that all start with the letter “B”, etc.)
- Frequent game invitations that you have no interest in
- The increased use by adult and elderly family members
- The increased rate of employers searching to find out about us through Facebook profiles and tagged pictures, which supplies anxiety
- Has become heavily business-focused – every business is on Facebook, promoting and sharing – it feels like a world full of ads at times
- Left and right, it feels like a space for people to brag about how cute their baby is, how nice their new house is, how gorgeous their vacation is, or how healthy and beautiful their relationship is…
(Feel like you can relate, now?)
There are probably more reasons that I haven’t noted personally, but from what I’ve come up with, I see plenty of reason for the site to slowly phase out of the interest of younger generations. As more and more social networks are generated and spread throughout the world, the more options people have, leaving less need for tolerance. People freely drop one account and replace it with another, fresher, more innovative one.
Adults and businesses are using Facebook as often as ever, so it won’t phase out at any foreseeable time in the future. In fact, according to Forbes, Facebook stocks have increased by 2.23% today.
Marks, Gene. “Why Facebook Is In Decline.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 19 Aug. 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.
Bosker, Bianca. “Facebook’s Rapidly Declining Popularity With Teens In 1 Chart.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 23 Oct. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
The ways in which I have been trying to promote my blog involve commenting on and liking posts by others, following blogs that post of social media issues and re blogging articles that I feel relate to what my blog is about, which in turn gets those bloggers to follow back. I also use many tags (around 10-20) in each article and keep track of my “blog hits” with the WordPress widget on my sidebar. I frequently share my blog posts through my Twitter and Facebook pages made specifically to draw attention to my social media blog.
So far, my blog has had 105 hits, which means it has been visited, posted on or viewed 105 times (I’m thinking this post will bring it even higher!). This leads me to believe my promotion has been somewhat effective. I think what has helped with this, aside from my tags leading people to my blog, is that I often post my post links to my Twitter, through which I am following about 20 accounts that post about social media news. Some have followed me back so when they see my links, they presumably visit my page and read my other posts.
I have had a few regular users who comment on my posts that I do not know personally. None of them seem to disagree with what I say, so they express their agreement, offer further support, or pose further questions. Each of my blog posts has around two to three responses and/or “favorites.”
In other efforts to gain more followers/readers, I have commented on around 20 blog posts that relate to social media in some way.
I also re blog posts that I find really cool or interesting. This encourages the original author of the blog post to follow me. Plus, they usually thank me for re blogging them.
I plan to continue frequent updating and searching through tags that I am interested in, so I can favorite and comment on them in order to spread the awareness of my blog even more. I also think that regularly posting significant or interesting content will benefit the popularity of my blog considering I am already above 100 views at the rate of promotion I have kept up with thus far.
How have you been successful with your blog promotion so far? Have any tips?
We have all heard stories of people who lose their jobs because of a statement, photo, or video posted to Facebook. However, now that social media is growing popular through so many other platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Vine, there are more social applications for our employers to explore when deciding to hire, or who to fire from their companies.
In April 2012, the Social Networking Online Protection Act was introduced in the House of Representatives, which will potentially exist to “prohibit employers and certain other entities from requiring or requesting that employees and certain other individuals provide a user name, password, or other means for accessing a personal account on any social networking website” (GovTrack.us). Though it has not been passed, it draws attention to the fact that it is currently legal for employers to require access to our personal accounts. While privacy is such an important yet unprotected issue, we must be extremely careful what we allow to be displayed on social media.
Currently, Internet monitoring is virtually unregulated and, unless an individual company policy specifically states otherwise, an employer may listen, watch and read most workplace communications (Privacy Rights).
Huffington Post offers an interesting read about 13 Controversial Facebook Firings. One instance of a Facebook firing was when a doctor posted about a patients condition, without mentioning any names. The hospital board decided that it was enough information for someone to understand whom the doctor was referring to, so she was fired and reprimanded by state regulators. She also had to pay a $500 fine and attend a continuing education class following her social media act.
What we can learn from this is that we should think and re-think what we post before we make it public (including if your account is extremely private) because even if it does not logically seem to break any rules or offend anyone, it still can. Another situation in the Huffington Post article mentioned how someone’s close Facebook friend reported her to her employer and caused her to lose her job. So far, as regulation does not help much in terms of Internet privacy, we must post carefully and consider who may be watching at all times, especially since there are currently so many social media platforms for employers to investigate.
“H.R. 537: Social Networking Online Protection Act.” GovTrack.us. GovTrack, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.
“Fact Sheet 7: Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring.” Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.
Emerson, Ramona. “13 Controversial Facebook Firings: Palace Guards, Doctors, Teachers And More.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 17 Oct. 2011. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.
The trend of Internet obsession in current society has been quickly creeping in for years. It seems to be taking over all aspects of our lives. According to Anthony Carboni of Discovery News, Internet obsession happens in the same parts of our brain that love gambling (Dvalidze). The obsessive, or addictive part relates to gambling because pulling the lever on the gambling machine is the same as rolling the scroll button for our newsfeeds on Facebook. He also mentions how the Internet is full of useless information that can waste our time, so we continue to browse and search because when we find what we seek, it’s a great feeling: a feeling comparable to that of winning while gambling (Carboni).
Another highly addictive part of the Internet and social media is when people take interest in your online activities. There is a strong desire for popularity, for people to take interest in your posts. When we post something on Facebook or Twitter, “likes,” “retweets,” “favorites” and comments make us feel really good (Carboni). People publicly remark on our statements or activities, which means they must care, right?
Well, either way, I don’t think it should mean as much to us as it does. David Wygant of the Huffington Post makes an excellent point in his article entitled “Is Twitter and Facebook the end of Society?” He discusses the lack of personal contact most people face on a daily basis compared to how often we socialized just a few years ago, “we’ve become a society that’s so reliant on technology we’ve forgotten how to communicate with each other” (Wygant).
There is a definite issue with people not being able to part with their smart phones or computers. Whether it is because they are afraid they’re missing something important happening, they are trying to avoid an awkward situation, or they just feel uncomfortable without a phone in their hands, it is all unhealthy for their social skills, eyes and creativity.
Dvalidze, Irina. “Where Internet Addiction Comes From (VIDEO).” The Huffington Post.
28 May 2013. Web. 02 Oct. 2013.
Carboni, Anthony. “Discovery News.” DNews. Discovery News, 30 May 2013. Web. 02
Wygant, David. “Is Twitter and Facebook the End of Society?” The Huffington Post.
N.p., 11 July 2013. Web. 02 Oct. 2013.
Throughout the reading of Jonathan Franzen’s article, What’s Wrong With the Modern World, I felt his main emotions involved fear for the future regarding technology and social media, as well as disgust at the loss of humans’ ability to function without these technologies. He left the reader with a sense of inescapable doom, where technology is the thing leading us all toward a large-scale disaster. Truthfully, the article stimulated some personal fears regarding the future of the economy and our quality of life. Franzen pointed out some truly disturbing facts about the general population and its dependence on computing devices/systems such as, cell phones, smart phones, tablets, 4G, PCs and Macs, even social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). I would like to focus on his statements and opinions of what’s “cool,” or “hip” and relate that to social media because I think it all goes hand in hand. Social media relies hugely on trends, judgment and popularity (who got the most likes and retweets, or who has the coolest insights).
Franzen made many references in the beginning portion of the article regarding the competition and comparison of Mac and PC. Basically, the huge “cool” factor of Mac products and marketing, versus the “clunky,” or “unsophisticated” PC. I found it interesting that Franzen spoke so highly of Mac computers, but decided that the simplicity and somewhat flawed system of a classic PC computer gave his work a sobering effect. He mentions, “Simply using a Mac Air, experiencing the elegant design of its hardware and software, is a pleasure in itself.” Followed by, “the PC ‘sobers’ what you’re doing; it allows you to see it unadorned” (Franzen).
I relate this to social media for many reasons. As we discussed earlier in the class, there is a huge problem with our inability to express true opinions on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. For some reason, everyone tries very hard to adhere to the “cool” factor, and to make sure no one criticizes his or her statement about something others may disagree with. This reminds me of a scenario Franzen discusses where people feel much better about themselves and their work while using a stylish Mac product. And on the other hand, PC users feel like they aren’t taken as seriously, or like their work has to rely on its content rather than the sleek appearance of the computer to make it look better. In general, onlookers don’t take people who use PCs as seriously. This concept is comparable to political opinions posted to Facebook. I say this because there are numerous instances where someone comments on a political topic and soon gets bombarded with hateful, strongly argumentative or insulting responses (Mitchell). Everyone’s opinion of that person changes simply because of his or her political view. That person’s political views define whether or not they are “cool.”
The way I’ve seen it on my newsfeed, unrelated to my personal political standpoint, liberal/democratic views are the cool Macs and conservative/republican views represent clunky old PCs. Facebook makes an honest effort to prevent personal attacks and opinion-based feuds with its “Community Standards” page by stating, “While we encourage you to challenge ideas, institutions, events, and practices, we do not permit individuals or groups to attack others based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition” (Facebook). However, users make little effort to listen.
“Facebook Community Standards.” Facebook. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2013. <https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards>.
Franzen, Jonathan. “Jonathan Franzen: What’s Wrong with the Modern World.” The Guardian. N.p., 13 Sept. 2013. Web. 21 Sept. 2013. <http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/sep/13/jonathan-franzen-wrong-modern-world>.
Mitchell, Chase. “An Honest Political Argument.” CollegeHumor. N.p., 31 Mar. 2013. Web. 21 Sept. 2013. <http://www.collegehumor.com/article/5996384/an-honest-facebook-political-argument>.
- Course Reflection Post (With First-Ever Podcast Recording)! December 16, 2013
- Ben & Jerry’s Did It Right December 6, 2013
- Evolving Language December 2, 2013
- The Social Media Effect Infographic December 2, 2013
- Giving Thanks November 24, 2013
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