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Week 8: Business – A Social Media Perspective

It’s pretty obvious how social media can impact a business. Thinking about how potent social networking is on our personal lives, it can do wonders for the business world. If you’ve ever seen the ad for SmartWater with Jennifer Aniston, it pretty much depicts what it takes to go viral on the internet. A pretty smart commercial idea, if you ask me.

Where I am going with this the fact that social media is huge. It affects, I’d say, everyone, in some way or another. I’ve picked three articles from three different sites, and with each I’m trying to really enforce my position on how critical social media is in this day and age. We take it so lightly, especially at this point in our lives but what we don’t realize is how open we’ve become… with everyone. From a business perspective, that can be pretty harsh.

So I went to the site Mashable and I found this article, titled College Admissions Advice to Students: Think Now, Tweet Later written by Andrea Smith. It essentially talks about how the things we put on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, etc. are readily available to whoever wants to see them… and it’s post secondary institutes that are looking. We put so much effort into applying for college and university; trying to make ourselves looks professional and 100% desirable to the best colleges/universities there are. It’s almost the same as applying for a job – you want to get hired so you’ll put “Lead a committee for environmental clean-up” instead of what it actually was, which was “picked up garbage around the school yard in grade eight”. I mean, seriously… We want to look good. So why is it that people make Twitter updates talking about how drunk they got last night? Or how “Tiffany is SUCH a b*****!”? They say it’s vulgarity and misconduct that really turn off employers and post secondary schools from accepting you. I don’t think people consider the things they post before they post them. If you’re tweeting “look at this awesome drunk picture from last friday!” and it’s a picture of you and your friends urinating in a bush… where does your professional credibility go? The same place you should’ve been instead of the bush…

This really puts it into perspective how, especially in a business world, it is essential to remain professional even in your personal doings. If you were the CEO of Apple and you were tweeting “smoking bongs with the boys.” how do you think your followers would take that? Not well, I would assume. It’s always smart to keep yourself composed and professional on social media, especially with it being so influential. No matter if you’re 45 and running a business to if you’re 18 and getting high in your parents basement. Have your fun, just keep it away from where everyone can get at it.

Next site was Social Media Explorer, with an article titled Becoming a Social Business Isn’t Just for Social Media, written by Ilana Rabinowitz. A quote I found interesting from the article was “For those of us who are deeply involved in social media, it’s hard to imagine that there are businesses still questioning the value of it…  becoming adept at social media means learning principles that can assure survival of a business in challenging times.” This blog entry talks about how businesses are (and should be) using social media to their advantage. With the influential nature of social media, businesses are finding it more and more useful to be more proficient in that field. Social Media, especially these days, can really impact how successful a business is and that is, in most ways, a positive. After giving it a litte thought, however, I’ve also concluded that it can cause a lot of damage. It says in the article “The new openness has most significantly affected the way businesses need to operate.” which basically means that our world is becoming more and more social media-based and in order to survive on a professional level, we need to adapt to these changes. A business that is in tune with what’s currently happening on the internet will probably do a lot better than one that is still living in the 50s, so to speak.

The last one I checked out was called Facebook Makes Big Push To Educate New Users On Privacy, Adds In-Line Controls to Sign Up Flow written by Josh Costine on TechCrunch. This blog article talked about how Facebook is really trying to get their users to realize how easily the privacy settings are set now. Before, it was such a hassle to make sure your parents didn’t see those crazy photos you took last night, or that status update with the F word that you were hoping your grandmother wouldn’t read. They really want their users to see how user-friendly they’ve become in terms of privacy, and how simple it is. With the new addition to setting your privacy as soon as you set up your Facebook account, the users will realize how user-based they really are… or appear to be. In my mind, this is definitely a tactic to get more people to use the site. They more they see that Facebook is doing everything it can to ensure your privacy, the more they’ll trust in it and use it. Pretty clever. In the world of business, I believe this is a smart move for Facebook. Like I said with the first article, teenagers especially aren’t watching what they’re putting on the internet – and I believe that’s brought on by a hint of apathy. They don’t care what is posted because “it’s their life” and “they can do what they want”. By providing this new feature, Facebook has in turn given those very people the chance to continue what they are doing – but in a “safer” environment. If you don’t have to worry about your boss seeing you go to the bathroom in a bush, why not let the world know? If you find it funny, I’m sure someone else will too.

In summary, my main point is how essential social media has become from a business perspective. Not only how important it is, but how easily it affects business and the people in the business. Whether you’re 17 year old, still in high school, applying to Queen’s University and tweeting about how many shots it took for you to end up sleeping beside the toilet, or starting up a business and trying to find the best methods of improving yourself, or even a huge business that is looking to figuratively pull your users back in, we all need to realize the potency of social media and how we can use it to our advantage in a professional manner. No matter what you do, who you are, or where you’re going – social media is extraordinarily prevalent at this moment in time and will help shape who you become later on. Practice safe tweeting.

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