When used correctly, social media is by far the best way to connect and learn about people. It is the way we brand ourselves and the way we keep in contact with others. You get to see what everyone at that one particular moment is doing. Do you think about how interesting that is? At 9pm on a Friday night I can post a picture showing that I am blogging and put a nice filter on it (sounds like a fun night right lol). But then I can scroll through my TL and see that my friend is at the movies or my cousin is going out for drinks. I can see three of my guy friends watching the basketball game and the dinner that a handful of other people are eating. That may not sound so appealing for some – to know what everyone is doing at one time — but for a PR person, that fascinates me. I see it as a way to reach a wider audience since you know what they are doing and know what they are tweeting/posting about.
Social media is the best thing that could have happened to PR.
It helps keep news relevant. News stories may die down if there weren’t as many things popping up on social media and blogs. People say that any publicity is good publicity right? So if social media brings about more publicity because people are sharing with their network, it is keeping people and things relevant, and keeping people talking about your client, doing what you need as a PR person…. Thus being the best thing that could have happened to PR.
PR is all about branding and social media is the perfect branding tool. You can be whoever you want on social media. For some, that makes social media a double edged sword, because while some people brand themselves in positive ways, the same amount of people abuse social media through the way that they brand themselves. But as mentioned, you can create whatever reputation you want on social media and make it as accessible as possible. I have branded myself as the Howard University Gates Millennium Scholar who is interested in all things communications. Through my social media sites, I am sharing to the world who I am and who I want to be seen as. I post positive statuses on Facebook, pictures of me abroad on Instagram and tweets showing how I am a media analysts. I am accessible on the Internet because I have all social media sites and even a personal website. But I don’t put information that I don’t want other people knowing on my social media channels. I never post anything that could cause someone to look at my personal brand as something that would embarrass me. Social media allows me to show both my personal and my professional network who I want to be seen as.
I love social media.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think social media has changed the way we communicate in a negative way. Now days people are so eager to post what they’re doing and stay informed on the happenings of others, that they forget to live in the now. They fail to take in the experience because they want their followers to know what they’re doing or understand their thoughts. They also have a hard time with verbal and interpersonal communication because they are so used to talking through a computer screen or a smart phone. People don’t have real conversations as much anymore. In a group of five 20something year olds out in public, like at a lounge or restaurant, at least two, if not more of them, will be checking their Twitter timeline or posting their drink on Instagram or sending a text message. Someone is bound to be on their phone at any given moment. And when the other three people see them doing it, they will want to do the same. This is often the case instead of engaging in healthy dialogue. Talking about matters of the world or spreading knowledge and wisdom. Sadly those conversations are few and far between.
You just have to be careful with social media. Use it as a branding tool. Use it as a way to connect with people from your childhood and folks that you hope to have in your future. But don’t abuse social media. Don’t miss out on some of your life’s greatest moments because you were so focused on informing people on what you were doing at that very moment.
It’s all about balance.