Taking the Social Media Plunge

Okay, I’ll be honest… I initially took ISYS6621 thinking it would be an easy MBA elective. I thought to myself, “How hard can a class about Facebook and Twitter be?” When I found out we would have to blog, comment, and tweet on a normal basis, I got a little anxious. Facebook is the social media platform on which I am the most active, but it is rare that my friends will find status updates from me. I mostly just upload photos and like other people’s posts.

I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon a little late and never really got into tweeting. I always felt it was aimed at a younger crowd. I’ve only tweeted 61 times and gained 37 followers. Most of the 202 people I follow are celebrities so I can keep up with their lives, and the majority of my tweets are attempts to win prizes. I actually did win shoes from DSW – love me some free shoes!

Twitter DSW PostI guess I’m just not one to share my thoughts and opinions in the social media environment, but that changes today! Although writing these blogs and tweeting may be somewhat of a challenge for me, I am up for it. After all, business managers need to be present and interactive on social media these days in order to be successful and successful is what I want to be!

This class has already made me realize that social media does not just include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Since its definition is somewhat hazy and relative, perhaps my first experience with social media was exchanging notes with friends in junior high school. Many of these notes were not just between two people, but rather a group of people in which we all contributed to the conversation. I still have many of them, and to this day I cannot for the life of me figure out what we were saying to one another – they’re filled with abbreviations, purposely misspelled words, symbols, nicknames, and inside jokes.

If we define social media as requiring a virtual platform, however, then America Online (AOL) would be my first social media experience. My friends and I spent our time on AOL creating group chats to discuss boys, the latest school gossip, and who we thought the quote at the bottom of someone’s profile was about. We even snuck into the public chat rooms when our parents weren’t around (a/s/l anyone?). Those were the good ol’ days, but I definitely don’t miss that awful dial-up connection.

AOL DawsonI moved from AOL to Myspace, where I could express myself through ever-changing backgrounds, flashing glittery words, quotes, and my favorite song of that moment. Just by Googling myself today, I was able to retrieve my first Myspace photo, which may have also been my first selfie. If only they had Instagram back then… #nofilter.

Myspace Photo

Flash forward to today…

I got married this past August, and one of my best experiences with social media so far has been using it to share wedding photos and video with family and friends. Our photographers used Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share them, making the photos and video visible to everyone, no matter which platform they use. Friends and family who could not attend the wedding were still able to experience it thanks to social media. Our photographers even created a blog post about it. We’ll be able to look back at all this social media activity in the future and reminisce about our big day.

Yodsukars TweetYodsukars Facebook PostAnother great experience I’ve had with social media has been using Facebook to keep in touch with the different people my husband and I met on our honeymoon to Belize, including couples from Las Vegas, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin, and even the resort’s bartenders. We may all live far away from each other, but on Facebook we’re just a click away.

It’s amazing how connected social media can make us feel even when we haven’t physically seen a person in a while. I was telling a coworker (who is not on Facebook) just the other day what our former coworker has been up to – how she moved, bought a house, got a puppy (which can now walk on the treadmill), went to South Africa, and went bungee jumping – when I realized how creepy I sounded since I haven’t actually talked to her in a few years.

As amazing as social media is, it also makes you think twice about putting your whole life on display to the public like that.  The privacy barriers have been torn down, but this is the world we live in now. I’ve been somewhat resistant to expressing my thoughts and opinions on a mass scale, but it’s time to dive in. Here goes nothing.

4 comments

  1. Great blog Kate! I think everyone feels a little trepidation before their first foray into the social media realm! I’ve grown pretty comfortabIe sharing on social media, my wife would probably say too comfortable. “No one wants to see a picture of your drink on Instagram.” Even though she may be right this doesn’t prevent me from posting. I think the relationships that you build with your followers is an important aspect of what keeps people involved with social media.

    I enjoyed hearing about the ways in which you have used social media to connect with people regardless of distance. I think this inter-connectivity of social media is a real opportunity for companies to gain entrance into new markets. I trust product recommendations and opinions of my Facebook friends more than any company.

  2. Kate, loved your blog! It is interesting to read about a social media experience from the perspective of some who is a little older than I am (you’re not old, just oldER!). I really liked your realization that notes passed in grade school/middle school could be a social media experience, as I have never thought about social media outside of the Internet. If so, my first social media experience was similar to yours.

    Additionally, I loved that you talked about your social media experience in regards to your wedding. I have to admit that one of my favorite things to look at (stalk) on Facebook and Vimeo are wedding albums and wedding videos of friends/friends of friends. I always feel like I am sharing in someone’s special day. Probably going to go stalk yours now… Haha!

    Finally, like Greg, your experience with using social media to connect to those far away is similar to my own experience. With family living in Arizona and even as far as Bolivia, it is easy for me to see what they are up to and stay in touch. I think that that connect is the best thing about Facebook.

  3. Hi Kate, great first post! I’m glad I’m not the only one who just can’t seem to get followers on Twitter. I think one thing you alluded to throughout your post was how one-sided social media can be. You brought up looking up a coworker whom you hadn’t spoken to in a few years. You mentioned how you follow mostly celebrities on Twitter — I’m the same on my Instagram — just to keep up with their lives. And you absolutely hit the nail on the head when you said that the barriers of privacy have been torn down. It’s no longer, “Hey, could you send me any of the photos from the wedding?”, it’s “Photography by Andy has shared a new album.” While yes, there will always be a supplier of this content, it’s also fair to say that the whole permission component to things goes out the door once you hit publish.
    I definitely think it’s a big plunge to take, and it’s one we are all taking. There’s no hiding in the social media landscape. And now I think it’s up to us, as managers (or future managers) to learn how to best utilize the tools in front of us to get a fair return. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I have actually gotten that comment in the past “How hard can Facebook and Twitter be?” It’s not really hard, but it does require discipline in the way other things do not. I hope to build some of that discipline into the course.

%d bloggers like this: