In general, I have always been relatively conservative with my use of social media. While my friends and peers have poked fun at my limited online presence, I have found it to be somewhat of a valuable asset.
I first registered for Facebook as a High School Sophomore in 2011, at which point the vast majority of my friends already had an account. This was also around the time when I received my first iPhone. In addition, I have never had an Instagram account, and did not have a Twitter account until I created one for the uses of this class. To this day I can’t tell you the purpose of What’sApp or Pinterest, and I don’t trust the world enough to connect Venmo with my bank account. And while I have become more active on social media over time, my involvement is still minimal compared to that of my peers here at BC.
My overall limited online presence stems from my upbringing as the child of a small business owner in suburban New Jersey. From a young age, I was raised to value privacy, and to be careful of everything I said. In the dog eat dog world of business, you had to watch your back. I was also raised by my mother and father to value my family as the most important thing in life, which I believe is one of my greatest assets. While these lessons have generally helped me to make the most of my life, they also made me naturally cautious about social media. As a result, I came to believe that one bad Facebook post could derail your career, and that the use of a phone at the dinner table was a sin capable of destroying the moral fabric of our nation.
These beliefs continue today, albeit to a lesser extent than when I was 15. I still rarely post on Facebook, and when I do, I carefully craft the content I publish. After all, many people who don’t know me personally will use this digital presence to define me as a person. The result is a Facebook profile that I am generally proud of, and that I am happy for others to use as a proxy for my character. This is true especially regarding the posts made by myself (as opposed to posts by others which I am tagged in). Additionally, because I signed up for Facebook somewhat late in the game, there are no embarrassing middle school era posts about whatever I thought was important back then.
However, there are several nuances to this broadly painted picture.
The first is that my limited social media presence is not at all reflective of my personality. As an Italian guy from Jersey, I am an extremely extroverted person and tend to thrive in social situations. Nothing about my actual personality suggests that I would be as unusually timid as I am on the web. In addition, I have a strong passion for music as a singer and arranger, and have performed on many big stages over the years. As a matter of fact, I am the absolute happiest when I am performing in from of large amounts of people. As a result, my limited online presence and social media silence may come as a surprise to people who know me through my music.
The second nuance is my unique experience with LinkedIn. While I rarely post or share things on the professional networking site, I have actually used it more than any other social media outlet. Last year, I spent a significant amount of time networking for an Investment Banking internship, during which LinkedIn served as a tremendous resource. My strategy was to use LinkedIn as a database, research potential network nodes, and then reach out via a guessed email to set up introductory phone calls and office visits. The information I researched on LinkedIn helped me to immediately find something the person and I had in common, which helped our conversations carry on for more than just a few minutes. As a result, I established an invaluable network with individuals at countless financial institutions and was able to successfully land an offer for a Summer Analyst position at Cowen & Co., where I will be spending my summer.
This leads me to the third and final nuance, which is the newly realized significance of social media for my career development. This summer I will have the privelage of interning in Cowen’s technology coverage group in San Francisco, and very well may be exposed to clients in the digital media business. This is an incredible opportunity for me, but I have to make sure that I am prepared. In order to perform to the best of my ability, I know that I must fully understand our clients’ products and customers. As a result, I think it is time for me to step up my game and gain a more intimate understanding of how social media really works.
Naturally then, our Social Media & Digital business class is an amazing opportunity for me at this point in my life. So far, it seems like the perfect place to explore the digital world by digging in and getting hands on experience with Twitter, Blogs, and other social media outlets. I hope to become acquainted with social media technologies in both commercial and personal contexts, and I am very excited to explore the ever-growing online world in class together.
Thank you for reading my first blog post! I really look forward to learning how social media can be used as a venue to connect people, create value, and make a lasting impact on the world we live in.