Social Media: Your Friend or Your Foe?


Social media has become the bane of my existence, as it is my addiction, my distraction and cause for procrastination. However, I’ve come to realize it is a part of my career that I need to master. As a millennial, social media has been booming for most of my lifetime. I started using it when I was 11 years old. That means I’ve been using it for exactly half of my life, which is incredibly mind-blowing and slightly scary. Both in terms of how much time I’ve wasted online and how it has impacted my generation and the business world at large.u-must-be-meme-304x300-resized-600

As a public relations and marketing intern at a small tech company, I’ve had to do a lot of social media digging. We’ve all heard about the social media horror stories (and success stories) that continue to happen every day to big corporations, celebrities, and even Average Joes who know how to make things go viral. Sometimes I think to myself, social media is a bunch of… (keeping in PG) mumbo-jumbo. Does it actually work? Can you even teach someone how to strategically use social media when it’s always changing? Did these success stories even have a solid plan?

With social media constantly evolving and updating it is a hard world to keep up with, even though most people think it hardly requires a brain (this video is the perfect montage of the idiocy of social media).  Those people also may think that social media doesn’t contribute anything valuable to society, its important to maintain an understanding of it because we don’t know where it may take us in the future (and sometimes through research you can see that it sometimes can benefit the world).

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Now, I know I left you hanging with some of those questions earlier, but I honestly believe that there isn’t a straight answer of ‘how to master social media’. Be that as it may, trying to keep up as much as you can by reading and researching and making sure you’re using it in a positive way is the best way to understand it.

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10 Responses to Social Media: Your Friend or Your Foe?

  1. davidhamernick says:

    Haha “#thirdworld” from that video, oh man. I can really relate to this post Alexandra; I didn’t understand the point of social media until I started my first J school class. It always amazes me too when I see that an average joe somehow becomes twitter famous. I know that comedian Rob Delaney started out through his comedic twitter posts– it’s just crazy that something so simple can snowball into someone’s career.

  2. As bad as it might be, I too have acquired a slight distaste for social media mainly because its nice to sometimes disconnect from the electronic world and see whats going on around me. It’s surreal to think that we are the generation that grew up with the MySpace fad and watched Facebook and Twitter come into play. It’s so important to remember the impact social media can have on your career. I have gotten mixed reviews as to what employers honestly have the time to look at all your social media platforms but I do think Twitter is the most vital. It shows a future employer how we interact with the public and can expand your image professionally and personally.

    I also really enjoyed the montage clip! I can honestly say that I have a lot of the same experience especially in regard to if my content is going to be read by others or even worth posting. But great post Ali, thanks for sharing it!

  3. cbuch232 says:

    I also have a love-hate relationship with social media. On one end, i think it is a convenient platform to learn new ideas, information, concepts etc. and connect with friends and others in your field. On the other hand, there is so much useless information on social media. Thus, we’re usually wasting our time scanning the various sites. I think social media can be used in very positive ways, but it is so easy to succumb to its inherent uselessness. Because of this, I believe the key to social media is self-discipline.

  4. This post is very relevant to my life right now. Recently we had a social media “class” in the office about how to use social media most effectively. I learned some tips like adding a period before the @ sign when you reply to someone on Twitter ensures all your followers will see the post, not just those who follow both you and the person you’re retweeting. I also learned that posting 3 minutes before or after the hour is better than posting directly at the hour because people are usually waiting for meetings, buses or other appointments that begin right at the top of an hour. The best tip I learned though, is that if you ask a question on your Facebook posts they generate something like 34% more responses. Also: people respond to brand posts that contain questions all the time, even if they haven’t followed the link to whatever material has been shared!

    I also recently got coffee with Kevin Palmer, cofounder of Convertiv, an integrated digital media company. He got his start in the Journalism industry through branding himself online (way back in the Myspace days!) He gave me some pointers about to enhance your social networks and build a professional network through sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

    Whether we love it or hate it, social media is an integral part of our experience as professionals in the media industry. Learning to proper balance between professionalism and personality on social media can help us to network with other media workers and establish a strong digital network for the future.

    Side note: there’s apparently a new dating app that combines Tinder and LinkedIn, which I think is hilarious. Check it out! http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2014/05/05/linkedin-dating-app-like-tinder/

    Thanks for a relevant and thought provoking post girl!

  5. pdxsx says:

    Well done gal! The first time I have seen a great post about the pains of social media in the workplace. Unfortunately, I think it’s here to stay for a while longer – but I dig that you are aware of what a PIA it can be.

  6. kaitlynchock says:

    Great post, Allie! This was a fun read. It’s hard to believe you’ve been using social media for half of your life! That was really mind-blowing for me as well. I didn’t even realize it’s been around that long.

    Also, your point about being able to use it strategically while it’s constantly changing was really significant to me. I was thinking about how brands put captions as the first comment instead of the description. And how we emphasize ending will a call to action, as Nicole pointed out. And how Facebook’s measure of edgerank seems to be changing every day. Do we even call it edgerank anymore? Although it’s something that’s hard to stay on top of, I would argue there are effective strategies that are consistently relevant. For example, brevity and engagement are only going to increase in importance. I really enjoyed this post! I’m always excited to talk about social so thank you for providing me with questions to think about.

  7. I think we’re all on the same page right now! There are honestly so many times where I stop and think WHAT’S THE POINT?! Then I remember that if it’s something that’s catching on so quickly and being used by so many different people, it must be important.

    It’ll all make sense one day. Until then, I’m often right there with you, girly!

    PS: We’re old ladies. I can’t believe we’ve been using social for half of our lives. Ahh!

  8. jroger10 says:

    Social Media!! All my pages are just full of propaganda for my articles. It’s not just the lack of time to update personal anecdotes, but the fine line between cutesy and professionally appropriate is so confusing that it’s easier to not spend the time on it. My online persona is workaholic! It’s bad.
    Except for my best friends whom I love, when they tag me in pictures of totally inappropriate skirts, heels and red solo cups.

  9. simonemyers says:

    I am admittedly horrible at social media! I have an account for almost every social media site, but I only post once every blue moon. I too am working towards mastering social media and getting better at using it in a productive way; not only for procrastinating and creeping purposes.

  10. hansonlauraj says:

    Thanks for the post! I’ve noticed that I’ve started to get tired of Facebook, myself: it’s become something I check out of habit, rather than pleasure or genuine interest. I can’t help but envy the journalism professionals who can post endlessly about their articles and projects! I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to have only followers who are interested in my writing and work.
    Great job!

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