The Dos & Don’ts of Social Media

Least interesting title, huh? I’ll try to do better next time, I promise.

Digital Literacy – Chapter 2

I was surprised to learn the the majority of technical communicators are women (Spilka, 51) – I guess you know what they say about assumptions! Spilka stated that the entire landscape of technical communication is changing so much so that technical communicators  now know possess a set of skills that weren’t even in existence 5 years ago. It’s safe to say that social media has a lot to do with that. Technical communicators have so many more options to communicate with their audience in the social media world, which can be more effective in a way because the conversation can be on-going and continual when using social media networking sites, like Facebook. At the same time, the author warns that it’s important not to assume (going back to what I just said about assumptions…) that the latest communication trend is the most effective way to communicate with any and all audiences. I think this is something good to keep in mind – as technical communicators, it’s important to do our homework on the front end in order assess and evaluate our audience and figure out the best method to relay the message so it is received the most effectively.

Socialnomics – Chapter 4

When I first saw the title of the chapter – Obama’s Success Driven by Social Media – it mad me think of an article I read recently. It was a critical review of a book where an author dissected typestyles and commented on the typestyle that was used on Obama’s campaign materials, stating that it was a font that can be described as “self-assured” and “take charge.”  Anyway, just a interesting little tidbit…

I thought the number of social media supporters for Obama and McCain was really interesting. It would be interesting to research the issue either further to see if Obama had more Facebook friends fans and Twitter followers due to the type of demographic Facebook/Twitter attracted during the election or if it was just truly because he used social media more effectively.

Socialnomics – Chapter 6

The mention of Sims in this chapter was interesting. I never understood why anyone would want an avatar. For me, personally, it’s hard enough keeping up with my professional and personal personas that I don’t see any fun or value in adding another one to the mix.  Of course, I realize people do it for different reasons, which I totally respect, just not my thing in the least. And I chuckled at this sentence: “or perhaps these simulation games will experience a quick death because people may find it difficult to brag about playing a simulated game that replicates life instead of just leading their own lives.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!

I’m not sure what I think about the NFL creating fake Facbook pages in order to gain access to potential new players. I see their point, of course, but I’m not sure if I like the “I gotcha!” mentality.  But in the end, Qualman is right – don’t put anything on your Facebook page that could damage your reputation. Keep it PG!

Posted on October 9, 2011, in Social Media, Workplace and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I think the personas are genuinely inevitable to display because it is true we do different things in the process we have to wear different personas to be able to play our part in society. I am happy you respect the people who do this even though its not your thing.
    On the NFL creation of fake Facebook pages in order to gain access to potential new players I feel that was abusing social media.

    Even employers do go to check employers Facebook accounts and sometimes the end results are not good at all. It should be noted that there are people out there who are up to destroying others and the social media tool is not spared. Bad people can do anything to destroy other people. When giving disadvantages of social media I would mention this one when people misuse social media or their own gain.

  2. Stephanie,

    I wanted to edit this reply and I could not because technology sometimes is very tricky for me. Anyway I wanted to elaborate on the personas issue. People are compelled to wear different personas in life because of life’s situations. A good example I will make about myself. I leave in the morning to go to the office as technical writer, I am supposed to look professional and I wear a different persona than when I am home playing with my grand daughter relaxed. I get home I wear a different persona from work. I go to church a different persona, I go on holiday with my family a different persona that is why I wanted to explain that personas are genuinely inevitable to display because we do different things.
    I hope this will help.

    • I agree with your assessment of personas and how we use our different personas based on what situation we find ourselves in. Maybe I’m oversimplifying it, but for me, I have a personal and professional persona, and while I may deviate slightly from one at times, depending on who I’m with, they all can be categorized into one of those two buckets.

  3. Can you link to the typeface article you mentioned? That sounds very interesting!

    Re: the use of new & social media during presidential elections is very interesting to me since during the 2004 Bush/Kerry election they were still using email lists and YouTube hadn’t even been invented! Meanwhile, in 2008 cspan utilized YouTube to solicit questions for the debates. What might we see in 2012?

  4. Your assessment of Chapter 2 was interesting, Stephanie. You stated, “it’s important not to assume that the latest communication trend is the most effective way to communicate with any and all audiences.”

    It reminded me of the research I did for my usability design and testing class with Dr. Zhou. I made the opposite mistake from the one you mentioned. I designed the study to test the UW-Stout website using the type of technology that *I* liked, which was my Apple iPhone.

    I love technology, but I’m cheap, so I’m usually a late adopter. I had been given my friend’s old iPhone when his new one came in and I got totally addicted to it. I listen to podcasts on it, play dopey little games, etc. I don’t use it as a phone, I use it as a podcaster, camera, toy…but only in wifi range.

    Since I was enamored of it, I designed my test so that students had to test the website using an Apple device…right around the time the new Android stuff was becoming available. Yep. I released a study right during a tech transition.

    Needless to say, I got a horrible, sad, pitiful response rate. It was so bad I had to bribe people with candy to come and do the study. I had to open up two of the other parameters, which made the whole study invalid and unpublishable according to IRB rules.

    So, while I agree with the text that not every new communication trend is best for all audiences, we also need to be super careful to pay attention to what they are.

    • Heidi, I can understand why that would be a hard call! I liked that you used the iPhone in order to be accessible to your peers and, really, it seems like a case of bad timing with the Android release. Either way, I thought your method was innovative, even if it wasn’t the best way to reach your audience.

  5. Stephanie—

    I guess I wasn’t aware that majority of Technical Communicators are women until I read that, too. I think the most amazing thing is that being a Technical Communicator is one of those jobs where nobody cares if it’s a woman or a man that is creating the content. I’ve had jobs where people would treat a female engineer differently than a male engineer. It’s weird to work in an environment like that.

    Now about social media—I think it’s very important to remember that the latest trend isn’t always the best way to communicate. For example, the best way to reach me is via e-mail because it goes to my phone and I can check it anytime at work. The best way to reach my mother is to call her on her home phone.

    As technical communicators, we have to always remember who our audience is and the purpose of the message. If you keep the audience and purpose in mind, you will be successful with your communication.

  6. Nate, I’m with you. I can most easily be reached by email. And I agree that it’s always important to keep your audience and purpose front and center and realize that we may have to adjust our communication methods in order to accommodate those two factors.

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