So people of COM0011, how often do you check your phone? or for some of you, how often do you not check your phone would perhaps be a more accurate question? About a week ago, my younger brother stopped by my place to get some work done on his car. When he arrived, I happened to working on my own car. I was completing the installation of a power steering fluid cooling unit and was met with a few stubborn fitment issues. My brother showed little interest in helping me as he was captivated by Peyton Manning’s comedy performance at the Espy Awards that he was watching on Youtube via his mobile phone. Noticing my frustration, he says “I would help you but i don’t think I would be of any use…”. It is clear that he revels in the social media wave since this is not the first time he has done this.
It really is astounding the speed with which we access, receive and disseminate information today. Living in the “right now” world can be overwhelming to say the least. Whether people choose to embark on the social media train or not, the wave is here and is showing no signs of slowing down. In 2014, the Globe and Mail reported that the average mobile user checks his/her phone over 100 times a day and Facebook 14 times a day. I immediately thought to myself who do i know has the time to check there Facebook account 14 times a day? And that was 3 years ago!
As of March 31, 2017, Facebook had 1.28 billion daily users of which 85.8% are outside Canada and the US. Insert the “If I had a dollar for every Facebook user…” statement here. Instagram was launched on October 6, 2010. Fast forward to just under 7 years later where the number of Instagram users has climbed to around 700 million. It is not so much the growth, but the speed of the growth that makes the social media wave so prolific.
If properly leveraged, this represents an amazing opportunity to connect in ways that were not previously possible. The recent spats that occured on several United Airline flights are an excellent example of how much leverage social media can have in raising awareness and creating a “social movement”.
The Life Jacket
When addressing a social media audience that is as vast as it is diverse, there is certainly an element of risk involved. Due to the technology at our disposal, the information moves in real-time. Once the information is out there for the public to consume, it will be very difficult to retract. Of course, individuals are free to not participate in social media and protect themselves from anyone who may attempt to incriminate them. In theory, this may be deemed correct. However, some newer employers will utilize an individual’s social media activity to evaluate a potential candidate. And should those individuals decide not to engage in social media, their result may be the same as those who use social media irresponsibly resulting in a missed opportunity. Employers hire people who are willing to engage with others. By not partcipating in the social media movement, what is a candidate saying to a future employer? To certain degree, potential employees must keep their reputation afloat while protecting themselves from being inundated with unecessary information or participating in damaging activities from the media wave. Navigate carefully.
The challenges remains in striking a balance between the content posted and the desired reaction. Since a user has no direct control over the latter, he/she can only control the former. Granted, some platforms will allow a user to regulate who will have access to view their content but the protection levels vary significantly from one platform to the next. Going back to my future employer example above, if a user decides to protect their content where the audience is restricted, would the employer get to decide what level or amount of social media is acceptable?
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