If you were to ask me what I thought about social media three months ago you would hear a very different answer now and I assume almost the complete opposite answer after completing this course. I am at the point were I am starting to see social media as an effective tool in the workplace and not just a platform for kids to mess around.
I could tell you some funny stories about Facebook or AIM getting me in trouble in middle school and high school but that’s probably not a good idea considering the blog guidelines say, “This blog is considered part of the class, and all class policies regarding acceptable behavior and comments will apply to all blog posts and comments.” But that has been my experience with social media up until very recently. My parents always said nothing good can come from everyone knowing your every move and cameras being everywhere. I thought they were right. Kids would have drunken photos of themselves on their Facebook page, tweet about things that they shouldn’t be doing, never mind putting it on the internet for the whole world to see, and just posting pointless comments that I didn’t want to read and couldn’t understand why they didn’t just pick up the phone and talk directly to who they were trying to get in touch with. So what did I do? I deleted my twitter after about a month and a tweet I should not have posted, de-activated my facebook, and refused to even consider creating a Linkedin or Instagram.
Currently I am starting to see some value in social media, Linkedin being the most obvious. I recently started an internship and some of my assignments have included finding out the size of certain companies and also searching for potential managers who live and work in Florida. I guess you could find the size of companies by googling them and searching through the company website but on Linkedin it is way less time consuming (and some days I have a list of a couple hundred companies). The past few weeks I have been searching for people working for IT companies in a management role to potentially work for my company as a manager in Florida. I was asked to make a list of 200 potential people for my boss to sort through and pick out the best 25. All I had to do was fill out a search for industry, location, and job title and Linkedin did the rest. I have no idea how this would be possible without using Linkedin as a tool. When the list was narrowed down I could click a button on their profile and send them an email with the subject “job opportunity” and many of them replied back that same day. This was a real eye opener for me. I witnessed a couple dozen people get offers without even applying. All they did was have an active, informative profile.
I have yet to personally see Facebook or twitter have positive business implications (although I am beginning to come around with Twitter after listening to Todd last week). I am really hoping this class will help me feel more comfortable with social media because I know from my Linkedin experience that it can be very useful. Clearly there is a difference between social media for fun and for business. Must they remain completely separate to be effective for business or can they overlap? I want to find out and get used to using social media to help me, not hurt me like it has in the past.