Posted by miriamannelevy
There are very specific digital cultures that people need to understand when approaching certain social media platforms. For example, I should not talk about my personal life on LinkedIn, and I should not share company information over Facebook messenger. “The Rhetoric of Reach” suggests that understanding this culture is necessary before even approaching social media as a means of technical communication. The paper also suggests that these cultural boundaries are becoming looser. What the executive of a company says on Twitter can change the stock of the company in addition to their public image and employment.
My company recently became active in social media and made a huge deal out of it. Multiple emails and were given on how to publicly present ourselves when interacting as a member of the company on social media. The purpose of the social media was purely business driven. And I really don’t blame them after all the social media mishaps that have occurred online. When an employee posts the public often sums up that one user’s comment with the entire company’s world view. This level of scepticism is unfortunately a new standard.
On a more positive note, the understanding of digital cultures can help influence and “reach” more people. A couple of my friends worked at a company called Klout. Klout specialises in helping improve social media using scores and metrics for a user trying to get more viewers, or “reach.” It kind of seems like a credit bureau but for your social media. Of course, services like this cost money so it may not be in scope for a group of students doing a class project. For the more serious people trying to monetize and influence the world, however, this may be a great option. The fact that a company like this even exists is commentary on the quickly increasing trend and power that social media has.
Another form of “reach” I’ve noticed is the trend in monetary crowdsourcing sites, such as GoFundMe. The number of shares for each campaign are often in the thousands to promote more donations I actually did a small project this summer and observed how the sentiment metric of Tweets and stories influenced the overall success of a GoFundMe campaign. From the small amount of data, I had it appeared that positive stories and Tweets tended to be associated with successful campaigns.
The reasons people use social media are growing beyond entertainment. And in return social media is having more influence over things like money and our jobs. Staying literate in technology and the culture that surrounds it seems to more necessary than ever.
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