The Internal Conflict I Have with Social Media

Wow. I can’t believe how quick this class and semester have passed. It feels like yesterday when I wrote my first blog post, listened to fellow classmates’ first presentations, and made my first (and forever classic) #IS6621 Z tweet.

Throughout this semester, I have been amazed at how much I have learned. Without an actual education on how diverse this topic truly is, many people only think of platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as “social media”. Through Professor Kane’s expertise, I have come to realize the countless areas that social media permeates – from customer service to social justice and from fashion to corporate business. It is truly amazing the power this constantly developing tool has on our society.

As I reflect to write my final blog post for #IS6621, I can’t help but finish with the topic that has guided my class presentation and previous posts: pop culture. Why always this topic? I have come to realize that as a sophomore undergrad, my business mind is still developing. I am still working on my core requirements, still discovering my interests, and am learning the basics of what business truly is. Therefore, I realize that everyone in this class is on their own business journey – relating social media to a variety of topics that are important to them. I think that this is the strong suit of this course – seeing different perspectives on social media from people of different educational and career levels.

Thinking about pop culture and its use of social media after this course, I have reached a dilemma. Do the benefits and connections social media provide outweigh the misrepresentation and negativity that also come with it?

Benefits and Connections 

Social media has so many benefits to help the everyday person to the top global corporations. One thing I have learned this semester is how important social media is in building a brand – for any SM consumer. JetBlue is one of those companies. (How could I write my last #IS6621 blog without mention JetBlue?) It is amazing how they used social media to create a voice, a positive company-to-customer relationship, and overall brand – especially through Twitter.  Just like how we’ve see with examples from many of our classmates, JetBlue makes a personalize effort to connect with their customers. This by far is one of the best efforts I have seen this semester by a corporation. It effectively shows that social media can be used to grow a business (and quite quickly).

Jet Blue Airbus A320NEO neo

Like I mentioned in my first post, social media has the ability to create and maintain connections. After a mission trip to Ecuador, I was able to stay in contact with a 7-year-old boy named Adrian. While I am not a Spanish speaker, social media has allowed me to communicate through effective translation tools. As we have seen, companies are able to do this, but in a different capacity. Through online, social ads, they are able to effectively track impressions, clicks, and even know when purchases have been made. Also, internal social platforms have helped to increase productivity and communication within company walls. While most of these are not relationships filled with love, they are connections that help develop a strong consumer base and internal work relationships for these businesses around the globe.

Ecuador

Misrepresentation and Negativity 

On the other hand, I have seen many examples of how social media has been a negative force in the world. Over the past year, riots and protests for race relations have been a hot media topic. First seen with Ferguson and now with Baltimore, media coverage has overwhelmingly been about the violence and negative actions that occur. While these are important to broadcast, the do not tell the whole story. In each of these locations, hundreds of people take place in peaceful protest – however these actions are often lost in the actions of the few who become violent.

Baltimore

When we see these stories, many people feel the need to share it with their online friends. With the accessibility of social media, this has become fairly easy to do. Sometimes too easy. In an article by Wired, author Anthony De Rosa states:

 “It’s very alluring to want to take a piece of seemingly newsworthy information and instantly share it. If you’re not a journalist, you’ve got less at stake to toss it back out there without concern for your reputation to take a hit. But sending misinformation out into the world can be harmful no matter how many followers you have. The more people who retweet a false fact, the harder it is to debunk and get to the truth.”

It is the ease in which these negative (and often incorrect) stories can emerge which is the problem.

 Turkel’s TED talk “Connected, but Alone?” also proves how social media can be a negative force. I’d just like to mention one thing she said. “We sacrifice conversation for mere connection.” Just think about that for a second. It is so true. We are able to control our reality and with a simple swipe, we can get lost in another world. Social media may make things easy, but if we lose sight of ourselves and the physical world around us, the internet may take us to a place we don’t see coming.

Turkel
As I reach the end of this post, I still don’t know where my head is at. It is impossible for me not to see the limitless potential of social media. However, I believe it can become too powerful of a force – at least in personal use. While I may begin to limit the amount of social media I consume personally, I believe it will only become more of a business weapon. I can’t wait to see where social media can take us – in the world of marketing and beyond.

11 comments

  1. Very well said Jackson! You definitely touched upon some of the deeper takeaways of the class. You did an especially good job at making the contrast between the positive aspects and the negative ones. In my opinion, the benefits of social still far outweigh the negatives simply because it conveniently allows the world to stay connected. Sure social may not be the perfect platform yet, but as our technology increases and streamlines so will this form of communication. I think your reflection on the negative aspects were particularly thought provoking, especially the part about the spread of false information. It’s so true that you always have to take information you find on the internet with a grain of salt. The problem is that there is just so much information overload and a lot of the people putting this info out have their own agendas as well. I don’t know how technology will be able to solve this type of problem yet, but I believe a little self education and user awareness will go a long way. Again very well written post and great job!

  2. Very nice post. I really like that you called out the quote “We sacrifice conversation for mere connection.” One thing I noticed in my own social media experience is that I can have a fantastic connection or online friendship with certain people, but then when I meet up with that same person in person, the conversation is lost.

    Social has become this living and breathing source of information and communication that allows us to be disconnected from everything. In regards to your comment about not sharing the full story, the same can be said about tabloids and other pop magazines/articles. To that end, it is up to the reader to determine which outlets to trust and to question what he or she is seeing. This is a dramatic shift from the early ages of the newspaper when people believed what they read because journalism was held to a higher standard. Now, everyone is a journalist and it’s up to the reader to determine what’s worth reading and listening to.

  3. Jackson, I really like your benefits and negativity points. In your benefits section, I can relate with my studying abroad experience. I studied in Santiago Chile and lived in a home stay with a family. Through Facebook, I’ve been able to stay in touch with them and our relationship has continued to hold strong. My relationship with my home stay family is very meaningful to me and without Facebook, it would be tough to maintain. I also like your post in the negativity section about losing sight of our physical worlds. This is a point that I also shared in my blog post. It’s important to find the right balance between the digital and physical worlds. Great post!

  4. Great post! I have similar feelings towards social media. Since it is instant people post whatever they want without thinking twice or checking the facts. Although there is danger for misrepresentation not the internet there is still so many positive aspects of social media that, in my opinion, out way the negative. Turkel’s Ted talk also made me reflect on the amount of time I spend on social media and how it could be potentially effecting my connections with other people. It is always good to take a step back from social media and engage in person but I think social media allows us to stay connected and is taking us back to the small town feel where we know more about each other through what we share on social media.

  5. meganvtom · ·

    I really liked your blog post! You synthesized some of the most thought provoking benefits and detriments of the class, and really put your own spin on them. You are completely correct in that two ways social media is a positive force is within business and also for personal connections that would not be possible without social media. However, I think your insight into the negative aspects is where your post stands out. The risks of social media are right in front of our faces every day, and its easy to forget that these sources of information aren’t always accurate and could only show one side of the story. Furthermore, Turkle’s Ted Talk also made me realize that it might be time for me to start to unplug as well. I think this will be a good idea to get back to the roots of what makes social media so important and useful, rather than falling into the trap of social media being used as a distraction or illusion of connection/friendship.

  6. Another great post, Jackson. I really appreciate your willingness to share both the positives and the benefits of social media, because I feel that the negatives can sometimes be lost in a class such as this. I really liked how you tied in the role that social media has played in the recent riots in Baltimore and Ferguson, causing extreme violence but also providing a platform for a larger nation-wide discussion on race. I also really liked how you included your story with Adrian and your constant connection with him. It is amazing how things like Google translate and other language sites can provide us with the tools necessary to communicate with friends and loved ones across the globe. Overall, well done, can’t wait to discuss this one in class!

  7. Great Post Jackson. I have got to say I think you got what the class is all about in your final reflection! I completely agree with you that the negativity with SM is that it can skew what the story is about and overstate some issue and let some other slip by. I remember from the Hong Kong Protest (Umbrella Movement) last year, SM was full of yellow ribbon etc. However, this is because most supporters of the cause are young teenagers who fully understand how to use SM. Therefore the perception had been biased. I think you got that absolutely correct. It was great reading your post as it was a great summary of what we have learnt this semester in class!

  8. Very well done! You raise points that are spot on, in my opinion. I also really like how you tied in direct course concepts and examples. This blog definitely showed thought and planning. I think the “misrepresentations and negativity” aspect is what will be my biggest takeaway from this class. There is so much good that comes from social media, but with that comes just as much bad. Furthermore, my eyes have been opened to just how badly things can go for a company that doesn’t do social well.

    Overall, this was a great wrap up blog. Your contributions to the class all semester have been great…thanks Jackson!

  9. awesome final post! I love how you talked about how there are definite positives to social media, but despite the fact that we have learned about all these great aspects, it is still important to consider the negatives. I definitely agree with you that it has the potential to become TOO powerful, luring us into a separate world from what is actually going on around us. With that being said, there are so many benefits that it can bring to both the business world and our society that it is hard not to be fully “team social media.” I think the key is to be aware of all of these pros and cons, which you have highlighted nicely. There is no doubt that it is here to stay, so I think the best we can do is try to balance our usage and make sure that we are using it for the right reasons, and not just to simply escape reality. Nice job!

  10. Great post, Jackson! I loved your story about Adrian and giving a personal feel to this post. I definitely have this internal conflict as well that I somewhat touched upon in my post. I definitely agree that it can become too powerful of a force – especially when you take into account cyber bullying. Even in pop culture how celebrities feel even more pressure than before to look perfect because of social media. Sometimes a person behind a computer is more powerful than a person in real life, and its really weird to think about.
    The misrepresentation you talk about is also really alarming but true. It’s so weird to think how false information can be spread so fast – and what people end up believing is really whichever story they heard first. Even again how we’ve seen in pop culture about people spreading false rumors about celebrities’ death. This also speaks to its power that I agree with.
    Anyway, again great post!

  11. Jackson, this is GREAT! I really like how you’ve detailed the pros and cons of social media and used personal examples and experiences. This reminds me of the post I wrote a few weeks ago about the potential of live streaming apps and platforms. I personally believe there area ton of good that can be done but there of course is the potential for harm. This is the case with any social media tool. In the end it simply comes down to what our social needs are and how serious we’re willing to be about fulfilling them. We all have our own lenses of which we see the world. I believe this is a beautiful thing and social media is allowing us to share this with each other instantly. I also think that social media gives us more autonomy and power than ever before, providing the ability express ourselves with a voice we once never had. It us up to us to pick and choose what we want the role of social media to be in our lives to be. Social media isn’t inherently good or bad, but rather shaped by those who use it. Great job!

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