Category Archives: Social Media

Becoming an Adult in a Social Media Driven Age

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courtesy of Dean Meyers via Creative Commons

Today we had a speaker in class who focused on the importance of having a LinkedIn account and networking through social media. What she had to share was really helpful especially to someone like me who is starting to transition out of school and into the “real world.” As she was talking about the importance of having a professional profile across all social media platforms though, there was one question that came to mind: When it comes to social media, do I have to sacrifice my personality for professionalism?

As I talked about this topic with one of my suitemates, I realized that millennials are the first to truly have to make this transition from college to career in a social media driven age. Social media isn’t a new concept to my generation, but the social media that we grew up with was just that–social. It was important to be wise with the photos and statuses we posted; however, for me at least, social media didn’t have anything to do with whether or not I would be hired for a position. That is, until I got to college.

When I realized just how important social media is to my future career and occupational goals (especially in the world of journalism), I created my Twitter account with the sole purpose of using it for professional posts.

Confession: There would be times when I took so long arguing with myself about whether or not I should actually post a tweet I constructed that by the time I came to a decision, it was no longer relevant and I ended up not sending it.

However, my Facebook and Instagram profile were a completely different story. I kept both of those accounts private so that for the most part, the people who would see these posts know me and understand where I’m coming from when I post something I think is funny or “rant” about an experience I’ve had. Please don’t get me wrong, I do not advise being careless with posting on social media just because the account is “private,” but I felt like I could post things that were more personalized to who I am, how  think, and what I like. For example, on Facebook, you might find a lot of posts related to how much I love Texas. If you didn’t really know me, you’d think it completely weird and disturbing especially given the fact that I’m from Hawaii and don’t even live in that state. Granted, even people who know me well, might still think I have an unhealthy obsession with Texas, but at least they have some context for those posts and, well, it’s TEXAS! I also love Jimmy Needham, Jimmy Fallon, and puns. None of those facts about me will get me hired, in fact, some of that might actually be a disincentive to hire me, but the thing is–that’s part of who I am.

Now that I basically made all these personal facts open to the public, my whole concern about whether I should keep these things private may be irrelevant. However, it is still a balance I would like to know how to strike. Private or not, I want to be very cautious about what I post and avoid posting something that would put my job, or character, in jeopardy, but I would like to be “me” sometimes. I don’t always want to hide behind a professional front that says”’ “I have it all together and I love everything I am doing right now.” Especially with my close friends spread out around the country and possibly soon around the world, I want to be able to keep a real, unedited part of me on social media.

One point though that I thought was interesting and a bit convicting is that sometimes, I forget that those things can be expressed in person. I was talking to a fellow intern about this and asked her when I’m supposed to express my opinions or rants. She simply replied, “in-person.” Talk about a stereotypical millennial moment. So, yes, there is a time and outlet for everything. Whether you’re trying to demonstrate your freedom of expression or not, there are certain things that just shouldn’t go on social media… save it to discuss with your mom or something. However, I can honestly say that I don’t like the idea of hiding behind a professional front on social media.

What do you think? Am I reading into this too much? How do YOU balance professionalism and personality on social media?

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They Speak, We Tweet

First off, yes, I know it’s been almost a month since my last post! I have officially failed as a blogger, but if it means anything, here’s another new post.

Over the past month, I have been to two journalism conferences, and I was amazed, yet again, by how much social media has impacted this field. In fact, the name of the first conference was actually called “Reporting, Writing, Tweeting it Out: What is Journalism in 2014?” and the second conference was the International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ) which focused on journalism in the “digital age.”

What probably amazed me the most was how many mobile devices/laptops were being used during the sessions. Not to mention, both of the conferences had a hashtag created specifically for those attending to tweet about the sessions as they were going on. Also, during the Q&A sessions, there was a live Twitter feed at ISOJ where you could see the latest posts of those tweeting about the conference.

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My view of the live Twitter feed at ISOJ overlooking the screens of all the laptops and iPads…welcome to the 21st century.

As a millennial, I am not too shocked about this whole push to tweet and go digital, but it is still a little weird. I can remember the times when it was considered rude to have your phone out when someone was talking, much less be on your computer. Now, as Jim Brady, editor in chief at Digital First Media said at ISOJ, “I see more Apples in here than an orchard.” If you don’t have some smartphone, iPad, or laptop out during a session, you kind of stand out. Between almost every session, the conference coordinators would keep encouraging us to get out our mobile devices and tweet away. After these two conferences, I must say that I’ve learned a lot about tweeting and I’m getting more used to it, but…

 

Is it effective? 

Maybe I just haven’t mastered the amazing multi-tasking skills of journalists, but a lot of the times, when I’m trying to construct a concise and accurate tweet around something a speaker mentioned or brought up, I miss the next 5 minutes or so of the session. I also noticed that the other people attending the conferences were not just on Twitter during the conference. Some were researching more on the program or article that the speaker would mention, while others were writing articles or making final touches to their powerpoint presentations. I can definitely see this as being a useful tool to look into something right as the speaker talks about it as opposed to waiting until you get home to look it up, but doesn’t that serve as a distraction from the session that you paid money to attend? Where is the line drawn between a mobile device serving as a supplementary aid to listening to a session verses a distraction from the speaker?