Using, but not Abusing Social Media

My social media presence began back when Xanga was cool and since then it has expanded. Now I manage multiple profiles concurrently, including my Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. If I had to choose one word to summarize how I use social media in today’s world, it would be carefully. I know that might sound like an odd word to choose, so let me explain.

Social media has downsides when it’s used carelessly. For example, some people share inappropriate details of their lives on social media, portraying a negative self-image to potential employers. Social media also is a time suck when its not used in moderation, distracting people from important tasks. People get so lost in social media that they sometimes forget about the real world. This makes me nervous because my own best life experiences didn’t happen while my eyes were glued to a computer, tablet or smartphone. Life generally is more fun when people know how to log off social media.

Image

CC photo courtesy of Stefan Leijon on Flickr. The image has not been modified from its original version.

On the other hand, I think social media is great when it’s used carefully. I like social media because it makes it easy to communicate and share ideas with people who are thousands of miles away. Social media also can be used as a learning tool. Twitter, for instance, has helped me with research projects. As part of a netnography study regarding Fit Fruit and Vegetable Wash that I conducted for my media research class, I used the hashtag function to find all tweets about the topic. The hashtag is among my favorite tools because it makes it easy to navigate through users’ comments and quickly find information.

I’ve only scratched the surface of social media’s advantages and pitfalls, and I can’t wait to dig deeper. The following list summarizes what I hope to accomplish in this class:

  • Expand my network using social media platforms, including LinkedIn
  • Learn about social media analytics
  • Tweet and blog more regularly
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