Recently I overheard a conversation while I was at a dinner, and during the course of the meal the conversation managed to cover both the uses and liabilities of social media. The over-dependence on social media in this particular case had caused hard feelings amongst friends. This "why"was being discussed in length by my table partners. The lament was that some had been invited to a party, and some hadn’t.
It turned out that their friend had only used Facebook’s “Events” to notify everyone. He had not calculated that some were not daily Facebook users, and if they were, that they didn’t check the notifications.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was a woman who admitted she usually didn’t know where her daughter was. And in order to keep track of the girl her mother would call the girl’s aunt. The reason the woman’s sister was in the “know” was because she kept an eye on Facebook and Twitter, since she had children of her own.
The woman’s excuse was, “I don't pay much attention to Facebook.”
It all comes down to social media being a communication tool.
And with all tools there are times when it needs to be used in concert with other tools. When having a party, or a meeting, it needs to be kept in mind that not everyone is going to be checking their social media. Invitations and announcements also need to be put out in either paper form, or email; along with social media reminders.
Yet, on the other hand, social media is a powerful tool. There shouldn’t be a disdain for it just because it’s “just” social media. This holds particularly true for parents. Parents need to stay aware of popular trends in social media, and know how their children are communicating. It has been noted that with a teenager a “tweet” is rarely ever left unread.
It wasn't till recently that I had really pondered how old username and email habits might affect an individual's views of social media. Maybe it was because I came to the internet at the time when email interaction was the newest "social" craze, and so I hadn't stepped far enough back in order to consider the question.
Anymore, though, I have to consider the "whys" of potential clients' reluctance regarding social media usage, and am always looking at what might impact their outlook. It is a topic I often discuss with a friend of mine, and he mentioned that many over the age of 50 are suspicious of social media and how much it might intrude on their privacy. This I could accept as a relative given, and what I ran into recently supports this, but with a twist.
Not too long ago a old friend tried to connect with me on Linkedin, but for her profile she was using a old fantasy character name. One I have heard her mention off and on from her various online games, since she often plays, and reviews, them. When I asked her about it she said that she had only created an account because someone recommended Linkedin, but that she wasn't about to tell anything about herself!
Yes, she fits the demographics on age, with the attendant suspicions about privacy, but I realized she also fits into another demographic. The demographic I am considering is made up of people who still strive to have the anonymity of their username/email.
I can remember the time, particularly in regards to participating in any online group, that the email names often defined the "who" you were emailing, or talking to on AIM. The anonymity of the users names were an accepted part of the masquerade. In many ways the email groups were the realm of make believe, but this was also the cause of concern, because the unwary could be led astray.
Now transparency is becoming the byword.
Social media, like the earlier use of email, originally was a playground; a new “toy” where people could express themselves – usually behind a “mask.” Yet, like email, businesses have begun to rely on social media, and reality, rules, and etiquette are setting in. And once again a person's reputation is vital. And open for scrutiny.
Yes, a frightening thought for many, but the playground has given way to "reality" for any who desire to be in the professional world.
Cathy Mosley brings her 26 years of storytelling and writing experience to the realm of Social Media. To help small businesses.