As the topic of this week’s blog post is a general reflection on social media, I have been forced to examine my own social media use a little more closely. Before taking this class, I would have hastily defined social media as “the big three”, or Facebook, Twitter, and within the past year, Instragram. However already after only 2 class periods with MI621, I have quickly realized that the social media umbrella stretches to include sites like YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Tumblr, Spotify, and many others that I have yet to uncover. While my definition of social media is still growing, I find that it ultimately can be regarded as any online platform where I’m representing an aspect of the “Stephanie Costa” brand. It’s sort of disheartening to think that human beings and their online interactions have been reduced to brand promotion; but from the presentation of profiles to the original content creation, there is no doubt that we are our own marketers. Ultimately, I would say that my representation of myself online can be separated into two different categories: Personal and Professional.
Personal Social Media Use
My personal Social Media use basically involves anything that I wouldn’t want a stranger, potential employer, professor, or grandparent to have access to. As an undergrad student, I currently use social media for mostly personal interactions. Some examples of a personal interaction might be: a Facebook album that includes a past profile picture of me in my High School play, or a notification that says I will be attending the event “Mod Tailgate”. A twitter where I rarely tweet articles, and am more likely to tweet about being “en route to Countryfest!” or my opinion on MTV’s VMA performances. A blog that is unable to be found in search engines, and journals travel experiences while referencing family and friends by name. An Instagram picture of my best friends 21st birthday, or a band I saw in concert. Overall, while none of these types of posts are necessarily inappropriate, they are similar to the exclusive features associated with a product or brand–those that only a true follower or user can (and should be allowed to) understand.
Professional Social Media Use
Now my professional Social Media use is something that I would hope a potential employer, professor, or co-worker, would find impressive. These platforms are a way for me to showcase my job experiences, career interests, as well as how “social media savvy” I can be. For example, I try to keep my Linkedin account updated with my most current resume. I have also decided that the Twitter account created for MI621 will become my “professional” twitter, and that my tweets for this class will serve as a good base for future article-sharing and retweeting of people I find influential or interesting. Furthermore, I have been considering starting another blog platform that shows off my writing on topics that better relate to the marketing field, parallel the style of a published article, and avoid a stream of consciousness. To be honest, most of this desire for a professional social media presence has been sparked by many job applications asking for the links to my various platforms. Unwilling to provide my private links, I have felt that there is no choice but to add more accounts, and therefore add another outer-shell layer to my promotion of myself.
After defining these two usage categories, my biggest question is: Where will my social media involvement be in 5 years? Will I need all of these accounts, or will I start deleting some? As I leave my BC glory days and attempt to take on the working world, will there be a huge shift in my social media use from personal to professional? Will this be necessary to graduate not just from life as an undergrad, but to social media maturity? My guess is, absolutely.