Post #1, Course COM0011 Introduction to Social Media
It is a common scene—a group of friends sitting around a table, all heads bent down, their eyes fixed on the mobile devices in their hands, their fingers busy tapping and scrolling the screen. It is a quiet world, with a lot of buzzing behind it.
As a new citizen to this world of social media, I can’t imagine myself totally immersed in the rapidly evolving technologies, either incapable of, or unwilling to. I have seen some meaningless, time-wasting back-and-forth online chit-chat on Facebook. Sometimes I wonder why some narcissists like to expose so much of their lives to the whole world while we value so much our privacy. Some people post video on YouTube that don’t benefit any friendly networking but pose harm to the society, such as an instruction on how to make a bomb.
I don’t want to be like that social media person described in pastoryoder’s blog post “Social Media is Killing Your Social Life”. Some people’s world is the social media, almost nothing else. Even their family has to communicate with them only through social networks if they want to be heard. I have heard that some are so addicted that they have virtual spouses instead of meeting real people for real relationship.
I am not anti-social media. It is here to stay in our personal and professional lives, even though some social problems are blamed on the misuse or overuse of social networking. I just hope that people use it wisely.
New technologies are supposed to help to ease and speed up our tasks, but they develop and evolve so fast that people are always trying to catch up. However, the constant flow of information is very valuable in making personal and professional decisions. As described in a typical day of a busy marketer at a shoe company in the book Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research, a person’s work day is “immersed in the groundswell”. (According to this book, groundswell is defined as a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.) Besides having to be speed readers, we also need to use appropriate online tools such as Feedburner and Technorati to help us manage information coming our way every minute . (Ironically, we are also catching up on learning emerging new information management tools.)
Even if you are an expert on using these tools, you could still become one of the statistics of “people whose social lives are totally consumed by social media” if you don’t put aside some time for your personal life away from your computer or mobile device. You need face-to-face connections with people you know outside your profession. Do some exercises to improve your physical well-being (at least your eyes, your neck and shoulders need some rest) and to relieve your mental stress.
A group of friends did it by going out for a dinner and stacking their smart phones in the middle of the table; and whoever picked up his phone first before the bills were paid would have to pay for the whole table. Well, depending on how attached they were to online networking, some must have enjoyed the disruption-free social function, while others might have agonized during the dinner for not being able to “stay connected”!