Exploring the Depths of Social Media

As we all know by this point, social media is clearly a big part of today’s world.  Whether looking at it for personal social use or business marketing use, it is constantly being used and becoming more and more popular.  There are many different platforms of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tencent QQ, LinkedIn, Pheed, and Foursquare to name a few.  All of these platforms are in fact very different, what a surprise! If all social media platforms were the same, they would not be as successful as they are because they would not offer a unique experience from one platform to another.  Because I am going into Event Management, I am realizing the increased importance of social media in the business world.  Many companies use social media to talk and market to their customers.  Many careers today are now having titles like “Social Media Marketing Manager” and “Director of Social Media,” which proves the importance of social media in the business world.  When holding positions like the ones mentioned and deciding on the best ways to be involved in the lives of your customers, it is critical to examine the differences between the social platforms and determine which works best for what you and your company are trying to accomplish. For the purpose of this blog post, I will be examining the differences between Instagram and LinkedIn to see how differently these sites allow companies to interact with customers and other people in general. Instagram: According to Instagram’s homepage, it is a way to “Capture and Share the World’s Moments.  Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family.  Take a picture or video, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram – it’s that easy.  You can even share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and more.  It’s a new way to see the world. Oh yeah, did we mention it’s free?”  The use of the word world twice on the home page of Instagram is very interesting. By opening with “Capture and Share the World’s Moments”  Instagram feels instantly like a platform that connects many diverse people and their experiences.  All of this can be seen on the homepage before even signing up for an account.  Once you are signed in, you setup your account.  You can start by creating your name, which really can be whatever you want, then you can upload a user photo.  After this, it is now time for the wonder to begin.  You can upload your own photos by either taking a photo at that moment or uploading one from the gallery in your phone or computer.  As mentioned in the statements on Instagram’s homepage you are able to apply a filter to your picture to “transform its look and feel.”  These filters can emphasizes color, shapes, and make the pictures more than just a quick snap shot of life.  You can add captions to the photos you upload; in the captions you can tag people and you can use hashtags to get even more notice from people if they happen to search or see the hashtag. People can follow your account, and you can search people and follow them too.  As a user you have the ability to like and comment on other’s photos.  Other users are able to do this to your photos as well!  One interesting feature of Instagram that is not often used or talked about is the “Posts You’ve Liked” section in the options of your own account.  This is a nice feature that allows you to view the posts you have like in the past. Looking at Instagram from the perspective of a business professional, you can see many opportunities to market for your company.  A company Instagram account can be created and used to connect with customers of the company.  For instance, American Apparel is a very well known clothing brand.  They use Instagram to upload the current clothes that are available in the stores.  Clothing is either presented on models or on a flat surface to showcase the outfits.  American Apparel has the ability to edit their photos to emphasize a particular look or piece of clothing.  They also use Instagram to post videos and pictures about certain sales they have going on.  This can allow their customers/followers to see on a day to day basis what is going on in the store and attract many customers in.  I am a follower of American Apparel and find myself frequently in that store because of the posts they share on Instagram.  Clearly, Instagram serves as a great way for companies to market their products to their customers on a daily basis.  They can post offers, news, interesting facts discount codes, and so much more to be closer related to their customers and get them into the store or using the products. LinkedIn:  LinkedIn is a social platform that initially does not give a lot of information on its homepage.  When going to LinkedIn.com the homepage says “Be great at what you do.”  It then says “Get started – it’s free. Registration takes less than 2 minutes. ” The homepage also has six portrait style pictures of people who seem to be dressed somewhat nicely, meaning they are not lounging on the couch, but seemed put together for the picture. Unlike Instagram, which gave you a breakdown of what the site is about, LinkedIn does not really provide much information to let a new user know what it is about. Without anymore information, I would guess that LinkedIn is a social platform used to connect people for more professional reasons.  I would infer this because of the “Be great at what you do” statement makes it seem like it is for business use.  After creating an account and signing into LinkedIn, the headings on the top left read Home, Profile, Network, Jobs, Interests; this confirms that LinkedIn is a social platform used for business interaction.  When creating your LinkedIn profile, you include information like previous or current schooling, degrees, job experience, honors and awards, other professional information, and a profile picture.  Basically this is a form of social media in which you are creating and sharing your resumé instead of sharing moment to moment updates like Twitter or fun personal statuses and pictures like Facebook.  Once your account is set up you can search for either people you know or people who have things in common with you; this part is similar to other social networks.  Because I am a Hospitality student, I have certain “tags” that come with my profile that people can find me by.  For example, when searching New York University, Hospitality Management, Event Planning, I may come up because of the words mentioned in my background and experience sections.  This allows people to get easily connected.  In the search bar on the top of the page on Linked it says “Search for people, jobs, companies, and more…”  You are able to search positions, companies, and much more on LinkedIn, but it is definitely used for business purposes. As a business professional, I would want my LinkedIn page to represent my experiences and expertise very well.  I would like to have my company well represented by what I have in my information.  LinkedIn differs now from Instagram, and many other types of social media, because if using LinkedIn for business purposes, it would be less of a marketing act and more of a recruitment act.  This means that if I were someone working for the Waldorf Astoria and needed some interns, I could search Hospitality, New York University, Event Management, and so much more to find candidates from NYU’s Hospitality program to become the new interns.  I myself as an NYU Hospitality student can use LinkedIn to connect with Hospitality Professionals in order to gain an internship or a job in the future.  LinkedIn connects people based on similar career fields and offers a platform to share information and build working relationships. Analysis: In terms of marketing, Instagram is better to share interesting pictures, sales, products, and much more to entice current and new customers to purchase the company’s product.  It does not take much money for a company to take a picture of something new they are offering and share it to Instagram.  I would have someone be in charge of social media marketing and use Instagram to spread more awareness about our company and what we have to offer.  I would want that employee or team of employees to try to increase followers by at least 100 per week based on the amount of reach they are receiving from the posts. Because Instagram is not really made for back and forth communication, other than comments on pictures shared, I would like the company Instagram to have a contact email in the bio section in order for customers to be able to contact someone if they have a question about the company or product.   In terms of recruitment, as stated previously, LinkedIn can easily be used to connect employees, business professionals, and people looking for work and business connections.  I think it is important for managers in companies to have LinkedIn pages in order for many other people to learn more about the company and what jobs they have to offer.  I feel that LinkedIn is more of a personal choice, meaning a company may not require its employees to have a LinkedIn but may recommend having one.  Whereas a company Instagram would most likely be a part of the marketing department and not required of employees to have personal Instagram accounts. It is clear to see that there are differences between platforms of social media.  When comparing Instagram and LinkedIn it is almost difficult to see the similarities between the two because they offer and can be used for such different reasons.  Yes, they both connect people based on similar interests, but they can be utilized so differently in terms of personal and business use. I hope this analysis has not bored you, but opened your mind to really looking at the depths of social platforms and what they have to offer. Leen

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Organization’s Communications

One of my favorite things that I follow on social media is Christian groups.  One in particular is Pastor Greg Laurie.  I am a Christian and have a great relationship with God and Jesus.  I feel that it is very helpful and nice to be constantly reminded of my faith while scrolling through my Facebook or Instagram or Twitter feed.  Greg Laurie uses different forms of social media to get more notice for what he is doing.  For instance, he posts pictures on Instagram and Facebook when he will be preaching a new topic.  Usually these kinds of pictures include the title of the message and when and where it will be taking place.  One post he recently uploaded said “The Power of Your Story, Sunday at Harvest.”  If you are a follower of Greg Laurie, not only on social media but of his talks, events, and books, you know that Harvest stand for Harvest America.  Harvest America is his initiative to spread the word of God.  On the website, http://harvestamerica.com/, it says “Proclaiming the Gospel live across the nation.”  Sometimes I share statuses that Greg posts on Facebook so that my friends can see the wonderful things he has to say so they can begin a relationship with God.  This public communication on social media, as I stated before, is a nice reminder throughout the day of God.  I really enjoy scrolling through pictures on Instagram and seeing a picture of a cute dog, and delicious food, and then a wonderful picture of either a new talk that Greg will be giving soon or a picture with a nice quote about Jesus.  This is different from other forms of media because I am not constantly checking news channels, newspapers, magazines, etc. throughout the day. Because we live in such a social world, I am however frequently checking Instagram, Facebook, and sometimes Twitter.  I follow other Christian groups that also provide wonderful reminders of God that seriously make me happier throughout the day.  Greg Laurie is in his sixties and still avidly uses social media.  I believe that he does this because it is a way to connect with other believers on a day to day basis with little tid-bits of information or inspirational quotes.  Through social media, he is able to reach and attract younger audiences on different platforms; myself being an example. I happen to just tune in to Greg Laurie’s radio station this week and guess what the topic was…Social Media! Greg was speaking with the radio host and his son about how to use social media platforms to reach more people with the glory of God.  “Instead of being afraid of this technology, I say we use it.  It’s a way to communicate with a lot of people quickly. ” Greg said this when explaining about why he uses social media.  The main purpose of him speaking about social media at that specific time on the radio was to get his radio listeners interested in other platforms to follow Greg Laurie by.  Greg’s son explained the different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  They created a hashtag that they want their users to use when positing on Twitter: #askgreglaurie.  Greg told his followers to ask a question on Twitter and use the hashtag so that he will see it and respond that way, instead of the usual way he communicates with his radio listeners through the phone.  They explain how the purpose of a hashtag is to be linked in with other people who are interested in the same topic; in this case, it will be all the people asking questions to Greg Laurie.  Greg further explains how when a hashtag is greatly used it begins trending.  “When you trend on Twitter it means that other people pay attention.  It brings them into the loop. We want to bring them into the loop to talk about the Lord.  And so this is just taking this platform of social media and using it for God’s glory.”  That right there perfectly explains why Greg Laurie uses social media.  He wants more and more people to now about and connect over the glory of God, and what better way to reach many people quickly than through social media.  “Young kids are using it like crazy, and older folks are adopting it more and more.” Greg explains how many people can hear what he has to say through social media young or old.  It is a great way to spread the word of God to many people quickly.  Honestly, there is nothing about these Christian posts on social media that I do not like.  As mentioned before, I really enjoy seeing them throughout the day and I enjoy frequently being reminded of God’s love for us.

Stay Social

Leen

Social Society

Society.  What is society? According to a Google search of the word society, a society is an aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.  Synonyms to the word are community, the general public, and the people.  Another definition that Google offers is an organization or club formed for a particular purpose of activity.  Synonyms to this definition of society include association, club, group, league, etc.  When we look at social media’s place in society, or society’s place in social media, I believe it is important to know the actual definition of society, which is why I opened with the basic definitions.  The current state of social media in society is that it is becoming increasingly popular all the time.  Older people ranging 50+ are becoming familiar with the term “hashtag,” which according to Google is defined as “(on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign ‘#’ and used to identify messages on a specific topic.”  This is a clear representation of social media’s influence on our society.  It seems as through the younger generation people, avid users of social media, may know the # sign as the hashtag instead of the number sign or the pound sign.  While still staying with the topic of the hashtag, television shows now have a small pop up on the bottom or top of screens with a # and then a few words.  For instance, if a couple in a show was about to break up, a “#thebreakup” may pop up on the screen.  The purpose of such hashtags is to offer a sign of encouragement for viewers to Tweet about the part of the episode and relate and connect with other viewers who are watching at the same time.  Another example of social media in society relates to what just happened with the Oscars this past Sunday.  Ellen Degeneres, the host of the Oscars, took a picture with other celebrities and posted it to Twitter.  She said she wanted to see if she could get that picture to break the record for most retweets ever.  This was actually so successful that Twitter crashed for a few moments due to the amount of participation (the amount of retweets).  This example also reveals society’s current state within social media.  Many people watching the Oscars so wanted to be a part of this “record-breaking moment” that they participated on Twitter and retweeted as soon as they could.  This exposes society’s desire to be a part of something.  I can say that I, myself, participated and retweeted the picture.  Many people desire to be a part of something, and by having a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other social media account allows people to feel as if they are a part of something, while they may be sitting on their couches by themselves.  Social media can be good for society to keep they up-to-date with current topics.   As you can see, the President of the United States, has a Twitter account that he uses to keep his followers on point with what he is currently doing and dealing with in office: https://twitter.com/BarackObama.  In my opinion, for reasons like the one just mentioned, social media is good for society because it is a quick way of sharing information to keep people connected and on the same page.  There are certainly ways in which social media may be bad for society.  Because social media is a fact-paced world of sharing information, if an incorrect piece of information gets shared, it may be quickly believed by many.  For instance, I really like the musician Bruno Mars.  I once saw on Facebook a status along with a posting of an article stating that “Bruno Mars Dies in Car Crash.”  I instantly became sadden and clicked on the link provided:http://bruno.mars.swellserver.com/news/top_stories/auto80.  I read the article and believed it until I researched further.  I found out the article had been a hoax and was a stupid way of “scaring” people through social media.  Many other occurrences happen all the time of false information that circulates throughout social media that has the ability to change the public opinion.   Something that is continually making social media a positive integral part of society is the use of businesses using social media to monitor consumer preferences and market to their customers.  In the area of college admissions, it is said that “With all the buzz about the role of social media in almost every industry, it shouldn’t be surprising that it has increasingly become a significant part of the college admissions process. A Zinch survey last year found that 68% of students used social media to research schools, and 38% said they used it as a research tool when deciding where to enroll. This has prompted college and universities to use social media as an informative recruitment tool, with 97% of schools using social media in their online recruitment efforts (up from 37% 10 years ago), according to the National Association for College Admissions Counseling” (more about this can be found http://blog.linkedin.com/2013/12/04/the-role-of-social-media-in-college-admissions).  In fact, this scenario is both positive and threatening to society.  While it is positive that colleges and universities are using social media to provide what they have to offer to the future applicants, it can be threatening to future applicants if the universities can see their social media pages.  Applicants may post inappropriate pictures or statuses that are unattractive as a candidate for admission.  It is important to filter what you share in order to not cause problems for yourself in the present or the future.  As more and more colleges, universities, and major companies use social media to scope out their potential students and employees, people may be screened out because of their postings.  This seems as a negative to people yet a positive to the companies because they are screening out people for reasons of inappropriateness.  In a very interesting article titled Social Problems Everywhere and No Attention to Spare, it is clear to see that there are many factors that influence what is discussed publicly throughout social media.  The article mentions that a lot of what is shared today, thanks to social media, is more on the minor level of problems versus the economy or world issues: “Although it is definitely still possible for a few big issues, like the economy and the election race, to dominate people’s attention, most other issues never leave the relatively small public arenas of their interest groups and engaged publics. Because the internet has led to so many choices in news mediums, such as blogs, social media, YouTube, and news Web sites, the public’s attention is becoming more and more scattered and difficult to attract” http://climateshiftproject.org/2013/09/03/social-problems-everywhere-and-no-attention-to-spare.  We can see that the “pressing issues” of today that dominate throughout the social media sources may not be relatively important to the real world.  Again using the Oscars retweet picture,  that spread widely across social media within minutes and does not really have any affect or benefit to people’s lives.  Social media and society are 100% related because what is social media without society.  Without people’s common interests, social media platforms would not be as successful as they are today.  In a way, social media creates a society of its own.  People become a part of something and share common interests with many people across the world.  Our lives are developing in interesting ways, and therefore I leave you with: 

“You are what you share” (CLB)

Leen

Social Media and Relationships

Social media is increasing in popularity all the time. This is changing and reshaping the way in which people interact with each other. How does social media affect relationships is a very interesting question that does not have a simple answer. Is it good or bad for relationships? Again no simple answer to that question either. The answers to these questions are mainly opinion based. Because this is my blog, I will be obviously giving the depths of my own opinion on this topic. I believe that social media affects different relationships in different ways. For long distance friendships social media can be a great way to keep people connected and in no way interacting in each other’s lives. For instance, my best friend Sara and I attend different universities and through Facebook we like each other’s pictures, write wall posts back and forth, and goes beyond the “one-dimensional” communication of texting. I say one-dimensional because texting is more of just writing back and forth to each other. Social media, Facebook in this case, allows people to view your public pictures, not just the certain ones you choose to send to friends through text. Because of the option of wall posts, I am able to take a YouTube video and send it to Sara and tag others in it as well so they can all view the video. Another example of the benefits of social media on friendships is my mother and her high school classmate. They have remained friends over the years rough Facebook even though her friend now lives in Hawaii. They can view each other’s pictures and statuses too see what is going on within each other’s lives. In the two scenarios mentioned above, my mother and I stay up-to-date with our actual friends through social media.  Social media, however, changes the way in which we use the word “friend.” I have about 600 “friends” on Facebook.  Would I consider myself actually friends with about 90% of those people, no.  Surely if I saw them in public I would say hello, but I do not engage with most of those people outside of social media.  This can be understood more through this article: http://www.richardgjonesjr.com/blog/2013/5/12/how-does-social-media-affect-our-relationships-interpersonal-9.html. Moving on to romantic relationships, I believe social media creates a great deal of strain on romantic relationships. Although people can stay socially connected to their significant others, it may create problems if people are tagged in pictures with other people or if a boyfriend likes a picture of a girl on Instagram. This may upset his girlfriend even though he is just friends with the girl in the picture. Furthermore, two people with existing romantic relationships who make their friendship with each other known through social media may cause disruptions within their romantic relationships. Therefore, I believe social media strengths friendships and strains romantic relationships. Given that relationships may be strained through what occurs between users, people should monitor what they do on social media. Maybe liking a picture of a friend of the opposite sex could cause a problem for a relationship and therefore, should be thought of before doing. One should think of the scenario from their partner’s point of view and think if it would make themselves unhappy or not. If the answer is that they would be unhappy if it happened to them, then most likely they should not do it to their partner. I feel that this is highly based on opinion, however I also believe that many people would agree with my position. As a society, we should filter hat wears hare on social media and with whom we share with. On topics dealing with employment, many employers and/or colleges look up potential candidates on social media to see the “real them.” However, it is interesting to think that people are not necessarily 100% them real selves based on what they share throughout social media. As stated in a previous blog, people can shape what they want to share to make their lives appear the way they want them to.  Also, social media is said to be increasing our interactions with others, but not through face-to-face interactions, but those based on the Internet.  This is an interesting change within out society that greatly makes sense because of social media: http://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/051313p10.shtml.