So, what are my initial thoughts on what social media is right now? I have yet to know how to use them in a way that they can add true value to my real life.
A bit about me, I’m in my mid 30s, with a career in the technology field and in the middle of an MBA looking to graduate in 2014 and potentially looking for better work opportunities after graduation, so anything I do online, is potentially something that could be found about me, or what I do by a future employer, is important.
In the last fifteen years, I’ve got to try every one of these Internet-based communication tools that have sprung up on this side of the hemisphere. I have joined pretty much every major social media/social network that has created any sort of buzzing on the Internet, mainly because of my interest in technology and curiosity of the novelty, among my friends, I was always on the bleeding edge, I got my first Hotmail account long before it was acquired by Microsoft, I was really invested in MSN Messenger, iRC and iCQ and every one of those instant messaging apps, then I joined Facebook when it opened up to universities after Harvard, and I got a Twitter account before anyone knew what to do with it.
Today, I am a very different person and have very different needs, I bought a house, I’m starting a family, I have more responsibilities, and I have a newfound appreciation to keep my real identity and my life very private, and I like to be able to have some degree of control so I can keep it like that, so certainly my personal priorities and motivations for using technology have changed, and certainly the focus of my social life has also changed. I still have accounts on Google+ , Instagram, Vine, Picassa, you name it, I have it or have tried it, but now anything I do online these days, I think of my personal reputation (just in case anyone is looking to hire me) and the security of my family, so when I spend online, I wonder (and worry) about technologies that try to map your every move on the Internet for the sake of profiling me (Hello NSA) or to target me as a consumer (Facebook Beacon). And not to sound paranoid, but everytime we jump on the internet, we leave so many trails which have left me with a sinking feeling that as the technology behind social media / social networks continues to evolve, they will be more pervasive (and invasive), and it might end up dooming us all.
Anyways, I no longer jump to try every new technology just for the sake of trying new technology, my time is a lot more limited, and thus I have to optimize what I do with it. I no longer am living at the bleeding edge of technology, but because of the work that I do, I certainly try to be an early adopter and keep in mind that anything that I can do to promote myself Twitter, a Blog, a website, will be good for that potential future employer, so I’m really interested in identity management, in developing your online reputation, in creating a personal brand. There’s no place where a determined potential employer is Google-ing for me, I want to make sure that when they do, they find everything about me positive.
So what are my initial thoughs on Social Media? Personally, I’m still trying to figure that out. I know that for those who care about marketing, self promotion, entertainment, or developing an internet persona, social media is great, but for those like me who use it as a medium for personal communication, don’t have any real need for anything beyond that, it’s a fight to maintain privacy. Nonetheless, I’ve come to realize that being able to manage an online persona is really important, so if its going to turn it an almost a full time job, then I just want to get better at it.