I was a late adopter of social media. When I finally decided to join facebook in 2011, everyone I knew was shocked, and I had to put up with smug teasing from some people. The thing that got me to join was that I was finishing a school program, and wanted to keep in touch with the friends that I had made. Until then, all my friends lived in the same city as me, and I lost touch with most of the ones that moved away (except a few snail mail pen pals). Five years later, I have 41 facebook friends. This isn’t a weird “I have the fewest friends ever” brag, it’s just the result of the fact that I do not send out friend requests, and I am not afraid to turn down requests from people that I don’t feel comfortable with accepting.
What I have never liked about social media is the lack of privacy. Yes, you don’t have to provide all your information, and are there settings, but many people don’t use them, and even if you do, there are always going to be scenarios that you don’t anticipate. I don’t like the idea of random people seeing pictures of me. I don’t want to share where I work, where I live, what my schedule is, what I own, and so on. I’m not interested in the unsolicited, targeted ads. I would never, ever, click through a link on facebook to buy something. I found an article about the social media use of millennials, particularly those who have moved away from it: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/01/millennials-not-on-social-media-twitter-facebook-instagram . I found that many of the concerns cited in the article are things that also concern me.
My social media of choice is instagram. I love instagram. I follow 32 accounts, and also look up others periodically if I am thinking of them. I don’t often “like” pictures and I don’t leave comments. What I like about instagram is how quick and concise it can be. I can quickly absorb and scroll past the photos, pausing if I want to, but not being bogged down by the text, links to articles, sidebars, random notifications and non-stop advertisements that are part of facebook. I do not post very often, but when I do, I never post pictures of myself or other people. To be real with you, it’s pretty much all pictures of my cats.
Considering that I do not make much use of social media, you might think it’s strange that I am taking this class, and hoping to work with social media in the future. I find there is a huge difference between how I feel about social media personally and how I feel about it from a business point of view. I took a year away from my longtime job to work with a friend on launching her business, and in that time I was in charge of the businesses internet presence (facebook, twitter, instagram and online store). I’m sure I only scratched the surface of the possibilities, but I really enjoyed it, and I think I did a good job. I loved experimenting with what types of posts received the most likes and comments (answer: any picture with an animal in it would easily get five times as many likes as a picture of just product), and gauging how that drove traffic to our website. It was interesting that I was trying to engage with people who had a relationship to social media that was very different from my own.
I don’t know if I will ever use social media in a big way personally, but I really hope I have another opportunity to use it as a marketer and brand-builder.
What about you? Do you have a favorite social media platform? Do you engage with businesses, or are you a lurker?