Striking a Balance

If you watch Parks and Recreation, I am sure you are familiar with Tom and his obsession with social media, and Ron and his hatred of social media. If not, watch the above clip to get an idea of their polar opposite social media attitudes. Ultimately, Tom and Ron are symbolic of the angel and devil that sit on my left and right shoulder whenever I think about or use social media. My goal after taking Social Media for Managers is to effectively strike a balance with my use of social media in order to fall somewhere in between “Tom and Ron.”

How I want to use social media like Tom:

  1. COMMUNICATE: I love that I am able to connect with friends in Italy or even to organize collaboration between members of my group projects. My future goal is to be better at communicating with brands, as I now realize that customer engagement can help the brands I love be successful. In addition, brand criticism can encourage companies to work harder to achieve customer satisfaction (aka they may give me free stuff to keep me happy and off of social media.)95a417c7149f0a5792008934e7bc16a5
  2. STAY CONNECTED: By checking social media platforms, at least once a day, I am able to stay up to date on trending news. Social media gives me the knowledge that many used to get from reading the daily paper, except in a much more manageable form.
  3. REMAIN KNOWLEDGEABLE: I want to continue to stay up to date with new platforms as they are released. Especially as a millennial, understanding social media and technology in general is one of our key advantages in the business world. In addition, I just want to be a cool parent someday! This course showed me that there are always new platforms to learn about. Some of these platforms even have growing market shares and may be major players in the industry going forward, including Periscope.

How I want to use social media like Ron:

  1. RECOGNIZE PRIVACY ISSUES: Because all of my
    accounts are public, I need to be more careful about what I am posting. This includes limiting my use of location services to tag photos and remaining professional at all times since governemnt_card_grandeeverything I post can be seen by my present and future employers.
  2. APPROACH WITH SKEPTICISM: Like Tom, I am often the first person to Google search my symptoms when I am sick. I need to be more skeptical because I am now aware of confirmation bias issues caused by Google searches and realize the tendency of social media to spread misinformation.
  3. APPRECIATE REALITY: Although social media is a tool that makes our lives easier on many levels, being present in reality should always be my first priority. Particularly when spending time with family and friends, I need to be better about putting my phone down to live in the moment and enjoy my company.

I previously thought I was weak for continuously checking social media platforms. Like others, I have thought of giving up social media for lent or for my New Year’s resolution; however, this class has shown me all of the reasons I should embracesocial-media-love-1 my social media use. I do not need to cut it out “cold turkey,” but rather I just need to strike a balance between using social media and being present. Social media is essential to the success of not only my social life, but also to my career aspirations and other future goals. It may be scary to think about, but I do anticipate a day when social media is even more important than it is today. When that day comes, I do not want to be left behind. Thanks #IS6621 for making my social media addiction useful, and teaching me how to have overall healthier social media habits.


  1. Nicole, I love your take on balancing out the good and the bad side sides of social media. I like you have considered giving up social media completely for lent before, but I never quite succeeded at such ventures. I think we all know why that would be foolish choice now: social media permeates our lives helps us be more efficient in more ways than I ever thought. Like you said, its just not necessary to take such a drastic measure. I especially like your “be like Tom” point about appreciating reality. Over the past couple years I have tried to restrain myself from looking at my phone when friends and family are around. Some days I am really good at it, and others I am absolutely horrible. I hope one day I too can stick a balance between Ron and Tom. Thanks for a great post!

  2. “Thanks #IS6621 for making my social media addiction useful”- this 100% sums up how I feel about my social media use now! I really appreciated the way you broke down the positives and negative sides about social in such a creative way. I think your comment on two-way communication resonated with me the most, because, like you, I tended to only communicate with family and friends. Now, I think this class has armed us all with a productive habit to create dialogue among brands and friends. Thanks for the post!

  3. First off, I like Parks and Recreation reference. That is a great analogy for finding a balanced social media reliance. There are perks to both ends of the spectrum, which you touched on nicely. I would categorize myself more on the side of Tom, because I definitely have a routine of checking social media. As you mentioned, staying connected is an important part of functioning in society. We need to know what is going on in the world, and for those that do not read the newspaper, social media is a more efficient substitute. I think privacy is something I need to work on when using social media. I often get stuck in the bubble of my friend group, and I forget how easily anyone can find me via social media. Especially going forth in my career, I need to be cautious about the information I put online. Good job with the post!

  4. I definitely agree with being balanced in one’s view on social media, and it’s the exact conclusion I reached throughout the course and articulated in my final blog (thanks for the comment, btw). The ability to stay connected and easily communicate are two huge benefits of social media, and they will only matter more and more once we all graduate and go our separate ways. And despite the misinformation we frequently see on social media, it truly does enable us to stay knowledgeable about what’s going on much faster than the mainstream media can ever get stories out there. Nonetheless, there are definite negatives of social media, and just like you I still remain skeptical about how much of a prominent role social media plays in our lives. Privacy came up again in again both in individual presentations and in class discussions, and it’s truly crazy just how much information we surrender to social media companies without even realizing it. On your point of appreciating reality, social media has definitely taken away a lot of our attention when it comes to what’s going on around us. Whether it’s at family gatherings, simply walking around campus, or even in class, people always seem to have their heads buried in their phones and fail to truly be present. As you said, we as individuals need to collectively decide to just put our phones down and simply live our lives.

  5. Haha, glad I could help you rationalize your social media addiction. Now, I’ve set you back about 10 years! :) Seriously, nice post.

  6. I really loved your post. I think your post really hits home in terms of what i believe about social media. It is a grerat tool that can help us to move forward but it is really important to understand the pros and the cons. We have to consciously be aware of our use of social media and be able to distinguish whether we are using it in a manner that propels us forward or makes us stay behind. I myself find that i have grown addicted to some of the aspects of facebook and instagram and this class has helped me understand how to properly use them. Once again, eally great post. Loved the video btw

  7. Count me with Ron. I’ve long felt that his character is one of my all-time-favorite television characters. Part of that is because he’s a caricature, but part is because it’s scarily difficult to actually keep “private” parts of your life private these days.

    We have employers snoops, the government snooping, private companies snooping, and professional snoopers (read: advertisers + aggregators) snooping. I hate to whip out my tinfoil hat, but I think Ron might look more and more reasonable in five or ten years. Just the other day I was reading a story about how Google has been tracking student’s browsing habits with Chromebooks the company sells for educational use.

  8. I love how you compared Ron and Tom to the devil and angel on your shoulders about social media; too funny. It is true though, social media has its awesome side and then its dark side. A lot of the time we like to pay attention to the good parts. We all know the benefits, but when it comes to the dark side, I definitely agree with you. We should be concious of our privacy concerns, and we should appreciate reality. As much as we posted during the week on social media, it seemed like during class we put it all aside to have great conversation. I really appeciated that; it has been a pleasure

  9. Haha this is great. Nice contrasting mechanism using two of my favourite TV characters: certainly an interesting middle ground to shoot for. Ron’s privacy concerns are certainly warranted, especially with the latest demands for backdoor gateways from the US government. Tom’s understanding of social media’s power is definitely something to harness.

  10. acoulombe13 · ·

    Great post and add-ons! Loved your take away on the power and influence of social media.

  11. What a great spectrum: Tom to Ron! This was a nice, succinct wrap-up of the class, nicely done. You ended with an interesting point: “I do anticipate a day when social media is even more important than it is today,” and, as crazy as it seems with SM’s importance today, I have to agree. Great reason for staying up-to-date with platforms and trends.

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