Week 4 | It’s a Social Media Explosion!

Upon reading this week, I gained a better understanding of social media. I see it as an influential exploding social force. Having a social media presence is not just for teenagers, but for professionals and companies alike. The readings better defined social media, and I picked up a few great vocab words along the way. These include:

  • Braggadocio-describing Facebook posts that boast of awesome fun adventures one recently had (I went mountain climbing and parasailing last weekend, and wow it was awesome—aren’t you jealous sort of thing).
  • Vanity search-Using a search engine to search oneself and especially one’s company to get a clear picture of what the public is saying about the person or the company.
  • Microblogging-Short form of blogging, like Twitter
  • Web 2.0-Website view interacts with the website, as opposed to viewing it passively
  • Social Media-Content developed by users
  • Social Networking-Building relationships and sharing information (a part of social media)

All the readings did not draw a clear line between personal social media use and professional social media use. They all bounced back and forth between the two. It is somewhat symbolic though, as I read in Socialnomics that the lines between work and play for young generations tend to be fuzzy. For this generation, some would prefer, using some of the the work weekday for play (i.e., social networking) and using the weekends to catch up on work (Qualman, 55).

I was surprised to read that social media was overtaking email and that young generations feel that it is yesterday’s method of communication (Qualman, 46).I was even more surprised to read that Boston College was no longer providing students with BC email addresses. An article on Read Write Web stated that students already have online identities established, including email addresses.

Companies are discovering how to leverage influence in consumers’ eyes. Companies like Nike are providing valuable and useful tools like jogging aps. The consumer uses the tool and feels like they own the brand—make it a part of who the person is. The person using the ap shares results of a jog with friends on Facebook (with subtle Nike branding), and voilà, Nike’s sphere of influence expands to all the people on the jogger’s Facebook page.

My company started a Facebook page. It’s safe to say that whatever is posted on the Facebook page is a part of the West Yost brand. Whatever I put on my own Facebook page becomes my individual brand. A corporate Facebook page is slightly different in that it’s more about what other people are saying—good or bad.

Comcast came up several times in the readings as case studies. Comcast provides internet, cable, and phone to millions of customers. However, Comcast has strong competition, including Time-Warner, AT&T, DirecTV, Dish Network, and others. Comcast must pay attention to what people say about the it, especially customers who make decisions about which service provider to use. People—potential customers—pay attention to what others are saying. What was said about a company use to be more company controlled. With social media, the user now plays a strong role in what is said about a company. Companies like Comcast must find out what others are saying and make sure
customers are happy.

Social media is influential in behavior modification, in both companies and individuals. If a company with a Facebook page doesn’t have anything to brag about (like winning awards), social media dictates that the company might modify its behavior and do things that are more interesting or beneficial. Likewise, a teenager might be influenced to behave herself if she knows that her mother, who is in her social friend network, might see whatever mischief the teen has been up to if it is posted on Facebook.

Social media is definitely influential at a corporate and individual level. I thought of a few types social media may not be as compatible with. This includes psychologists  with crazy stalker patients, recluses, members of the CIA, indigenous tribes on remote tropical islands, criminals, and antidisestablishmentists. The article, “Is Social Networking for You?” discusses that in claiming and shaping an online footprint, businesses can grow their sphere of influence and take charge of their initiatives (Molisani, 11). Professionals alike should use social media because having an internet footprint can bolster credibility. (Molisani, 12-13). Those not in the groups I mentioned should give social media and social networking a shot.

Posted on September 28, 2011, in Social Media, Society, Workplace and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Excellent post! And thanks for breaking up the text with the bulleted list. The final paragraph hints at privacy concerns so keep your eyes peeled for that in upcoming readings.

  2. Great post, Natalie! When I was reading your reaction, it made me think of an article I read that stated that social networking sites only account for 2% of buying habits, stating that people do not log into Facebook with the goal to buy, but rather to connect with friends. Obviously, it’s a great way to create awareness and start a conversation with existing and potential customers, so I still believe it’s necessary, however, I think it was given a revnue-generating spin prematurally.

    For example, I was looking for a donut pan a month ago and it didn’t even dawn on me to look on Facebook. Google is still my number one go-to for that sort of thing.

    But as you stated – “claiming and shaping an online footprint, businesses can grow their sphere of influence” – I think there is a unique place for social media and I think it’s important for businesses to see it as it is.

  3. Social media plays a huge role in consumer spending. If a company uses social media, a consumer might not even realize she is being influenced by a company. Take Facebook for example…I “liked” the Starbucks page, and once in a while, just reading a Starbucks status update has made me start craving a coffee. Some companies are not doing it right though–posting things every day or multiple times a day. I don’t want to see something from a company every day.

    That reminds me of another point between companies marketing using social media or email. Somehow I got on JCPenney’s email list. I started receiving emails from the EVERY DAY 😡 This ticked me off until I was able to unsubscribe from their list. Maybe if I were Facebook friends with them instead, and JCP didn’t write too many company updates, it would be a passive and and less obtrusive way for me to learn about what’s going on with sales, etc., instead of me having to delete emails every day or unsubscribe.

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