Social Media, You are Scary

Ah, social media. How I loathe you. Not because of my embarrassing history of involving “Duke” in my early screen names and emails – author’s note: we all make mistakes, but hit me up on Xbox Live @Dukehoopsfan422. Not because of my stagnating amount of Twitter followers. Not because the last a dozen pictures of me on Facebook are “selfies” of my girlfriend and me. Not because I was one of an innumerable amount of people called a profanity over Xbox Live. Not because the greatest amount of likes I’ve ever gotten on an Instagram post is 20. And not because my first venture onto YouTube has been less than rewarding. And let’s be honest, Twitter is just really really weird.

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No, I don’t like social media because it simply is too much. It’s just, quite literally, in every single component of my life. And maybe that’s a little scary. So okay, social media, maybe “loathe” was not the right word. Maybe I don’t hate all the people who can get dozens of #likes (using even more #hashtags) from a #picture #of #a #baby #on Instagram. Maybe I’m just aware of the great power that you possess; maybe I’m too cautious. But maybe I’m right. Let’s just call this what it is, social media; we have a love/hate relationship.

 

Right here and now, I’m enrolled in this class because of a few reasons:

  1. I love my information systems concentration, and I am ecstatic that I’m finally able to dive into a topic that, like social media, is not limited by the bounds of career-oriented learning.
  2. I have heard a raving review of this class from every single person I’ve talked to. So I guess there’s got to be something to it beyond snack time.
  3. I’ll finally be able to get retweets on Twitter!
  4. Considering the fact that I finally got a good pick-time for class registration, I thought I would take a class where I could vent socially about the nightmares of poor pick times – for those who are unaware, I’ve had too many 8:00 AM classes.
  5. And I hope that this class can also act as a medium for my popular culture references! And social media can be more than zero fun. Sir.

I’m looking for this class to be enjoyable and informative. Let’s add to the love of social media.

It is not easy to estimate just how much you know about social media. Simply put, I utilize a lot of websites that certainly could constitute a vast majority of what many would concern to be “social media.” But obviously social media is so much more than Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Social media is a rapidly changing and ever-growing commodity. Every application on a phone that allows for any degree of user-to-user communication – even just a cumulative high score list – is social media. Gmail, LinkedIn, Spotify, Reddit, Rotten Tomatoes, Uber and countless more are all social media. So yes, I am confident in saying I know my fair share. And looking at a total market share – based on number of users of the site or application – I would be at the very least familiar with many. But just looking at an extensive list would leave any of us with our jaws on the floor by the sheer size of this incredibly encapsulating term. So I know a few things, I know I don’t know a lot of things and I would wager that I don’t know that I don’t know even more. And that’s exactly when social media can just become overwhelming.

While I’m not sure I quite have a favorite or best experience on social media – let’s see what you got, #IS6621! – I most certainly have a least favorite: sophomore year of college, first semester, Marketing Principles. While the class was perfectly tolerable, our foray into the marketing world involved me starring in a video that was supposed to “go viral.” And let’s just be clear: it did not go viral. Sadly, since the culmination of that project and that class, my video has been taken down. Why did I classify this project as one of my worst social media experiences? A few reasons:

  • You cannot force something to go viral with sheer will and limited resources.
  • You cannot expect a video to go viral when a dozen other groups of students are sharing an incredibly similar video, supersaturating the market.
  • I was the bane of my Facebook friends’ newsfeeds for about a month, resulting in a few lost friendships.
  • Over 1,200 people saw a video of me wearing neon orange golf shorts, and my Charles Barkley-like golf swing.
  • To be honest, I never thought the product was very good. No offense.

Bonus:

Rusty, my dog, is very excited about the Teecil

Rusty, my dog, is very excited about the Teecil

So this is where the “hate” thing comes into play with the love/hate relationship. Sorry, Rusty, I still love you.

 

So whether I am loving social media, hating it without recourse or simply using it without being completely aware, I understand that this subject has layers of complexity, limitless uses and heaps of potential. So yes, social media is incredibly frustrating. And yes it is intimidating. But it’s here to stay, so let’s see what we can learn about it. I just hope I’m not the only one who is a little afraid of the beast.

5 comments

  1. Two things really stand out to me from your blog. (1) Be cautious of the power of social media. Yes, sir. I read an article on the Economist recently that emphasizes the sheer amount of information available on us online just because of all the social media platforms… and we keep on getting comfortable with more loose definitions of “privacy” each time the policy is changed. Can we imagine a time where insurance companies give you a higher rate qoute because you refer to yourself as a ‘motorcycle stunt enthusiast’ on your social profile? (2) Uber’s example calls out a larger emergence of two-sided platforms and business models that have changed the status quo. The whole idea of social connecting users together has given birth to business like Uber and Airbnb which connect buyers and sellers on one platform. Their social communities are even more tightly knit through their rating systems and the user base trusts the ratings out of a sense of belonging to the community.

  2. Oh yes, I heard about that failed Marketing Principles experiment (and predicted its disaster in advance). I’m so glad to know that people like more about the class than just the snacks. Hopefully, we can redeem the experience a bit. Not sure I want to turn you into a social media celebrity, but I do hope you will think of different ways to communicate and network (both personally and professionally) as a result of your experience here.

  3. First of all, I am sorry for the unfavorable Marketing Principles experiment. I was looking at the Teecil website, and I can’t say it’s a bad idea. I honestly think it’s pretty creative! At the same time, you make an interesting point about virality on social media. Videos that go viral are typically not planned to be viral. While your advertisement may have been fantastic, it’s somewhat unfair for your instructor to expect it to go viral, especially, as you mentioned, when ten other groups are making similar videos. Social media is a complicated world, and while there may not be any specific “steps” to make your advertisement go viral (even though some website may claim to do this), I think it teaches a valuable lesson about the frustrations surrounding social media. Great post!

  4. Oh, the viral video. I wish we knew the formula so you hadn’t been disappointed! I agree it’s pretty unpredictable to know what will catch on. The only common theme is that most of them provide a feel-good break to our day, which is kind of worth the interruption in my newsfeed. There is always the occasional hoax, though…I was so sad when I learned the video of the hero pig rescuing a goat was fake (http://huff.to/1m0KIIh). Great post!

  5. meganmorgan9 · ·

    I also was in that marketing principles class and completely share your frustrations with the group projects. I don’t think I have ever so aggressively competed against my classmates nor been so stressed out in a class! Needless to say it was a bit much for a marketing principles class and left me with a sour taste in my mouth as I wasn’t sure where this social media marketing thing was going. However, I do think it gave us a good idea of how not to do social media marketing in the sense that you have to create something of value and worth for it to catch on, in whatever way that may be. There also first and foremost should be a great product (or brand) behind that social media leveraging. I’m sure this class will give us both great insight into the complexity that can be social media and how to use it for what we most want out of it. Great post!

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