(This was stuck in personal wordpress and never made it to the class blog)
To start, my thoughts on social media break down into two categories 1) my personal use and 2) utility for businesses.
First, my personal use of social media. I both appreciate the utility of social media and have a distaste for the social media culture in my generation. Social media has been very helpful for me as I interact with old classmates of mine from boarding school. The year I graduated there were nearly 40 countries represented by students at my high school. We are not simply spread out over the country, we are spread out over the globe. Every few months I check in with my friend Darren, serving in Singapore’s military. Not only do I have a one on one communication with him, I get to see all of his updates. I know what he looks like with a military style buzz-cut, I know when he celebrates a significant milestone in his life. These functions of social media are fantastic.
On my own personal page I can keep friends like Darren up to date on my life and share important moments. I am somewhat cautious about how much I share personally as I do not like to broadcast the intimate details of my life. I feel that my social media usage differs significantly from that of my peers’. So much of social media is a contest for ‘likes’ and comments. Often it feels as though the measure of your life is not how happy you ARE but how happy you APPEAR to be. While putting on this false facade may be useful, it is also insincere. It is this competitive ego-centric culture about social media that I find so ironic. Social media should be about connecting individuals and sharing experiences. In reality the greatest focus for many of my peers is on their own profiles rather than the profiles of others.
For businesses, social media just makes plane sense. It’s an effective way of targeting specific demographics over multiple platforms. Often times the advertisements are integrated into ordinary usage. When I follow Nike or Adidas on Twitter I am electing to receive their tweets in my feed. What is in actuality a form of advertisement feels organic. It is not uncommon for users to post pictures of products they have purchased such as a new pair of shoes. Forums like twitter allow companies to interact with customers in a playful and open environment. Social media should not be a question of “if” for companies but “where and how much.”