Picture courtesy of http://phuketmediacompany.com/
Our choice of social mediums is dependent on our specific goal for our virtual presence. For my personal accounts, I try to keep them separate because I don’t want to share my crude tweet or Instagram pics being displayed on my Facebook wall for my coworkers to see. From a non-profit/business point of view, it is helpful
to have many platforms connected in order to maintain a consistent online voice and transparency, but at the same time, SMSG also suggests that connecting and sharing everything across all platforms can be overkill. For example, Twitter has a different “pace” than Facebook; Twitter demands more upkeep and more frequency of posts. Facebook is better served for more sporadic postings that may be lengthier or more in-depth than a Twitter post. If a non-profit shares all their Tweets on their FB wall, their FB audience may become overwhelmed and decide to un-follow that organization.
140 Characters emphasizes the importance of having a consistent online voice across all social media platforms. Having a consistent voice allows our online followers to be able to understand our intention and delivery of a message. Since Twitter, for example, gives a limited amount of space devoted to expressing thought, limiting what the author can do to construct a complete thought with personal tone. Consistency of tone creates for readers a voice for them that is recognizable and easily interpreted. Irony was one voice that the book said was the hardest to get across to readers and the most important to maintain consistency of. Keeping a consistent voice across all social media platforms allows our online audience to understand your voice and intention better by understanding the kind of language and word choice you choose to use to express yourself. Cohesion of all our social mediums is also important for establishing our impression on our virtual presence, whether personal or professional. My organizations which I have been following seem to have good online cohesion between their social mediums and a consistent look and voice they are trying to get across, based on their audience. The social platforms they choose to share information is important too, because based on their target audience they need to choose what social media to use more frequently.
The Pew report had many good statistics regarding the role of social media platforms working for the good of the arts and other organizations. Social media does give organizations the ability to virtually (no pun intended) connect all their online platforms in a way which helps their org. grow and have a larger impact online and off and gain more exposure. Interestingly enough, the research also showed concerns (the same ones which I have) about having such a large media presence. The research talked about how “digital distractions such as ringing cell phones and audience member texting are a significant disruption to live performances.” Although this is talking about distractions during art performance, I think this is still true for our daily life performance. Being connected is great for exposure and virtual growth, but at what point is it too much? People who are passionate enough about something should still be willing to do some more work besides clicking ‘like’ on someone’s page and actually going out of their way to physically be present with that person, or organization. Social media gives people the opportunity to be present online, which is sometimes an excuse for not physically being present.
Social media, in my opinion, craves short, witty remarks which are eye-catching and memorable. This is an important aspect we frequently talk about in Public Relations courses; the ability to stand out among the clutter. This is the same in our virtual lives; we are advertising ourselves in short responses without drowning people in information. In certain situations, it is appropriate to add more information and details (and length) to our writing online. I write lengthy pieces on blog forums and from time to time might have a more detailed explanation in the comment section on a friend’s or others Facebook page. I have a tendency to get into comment battles with people on local news source’s posts and during those situations I may expand on my idea (to no avail). I send lengthy text messages if I am explaining or discussing something to someone, or I might send a longer email at times, but day-to-day I try to keep my social media/virtual conversations to short, quick responses which get my point across. If I need to tell something to someone, I would rather tell them in person, avoiding any miscommunication or breach of information.
Maybe it is the English major in me, but I have always tried to avoid text abbreviations, just because I always found them super impersonal. I try to stay consistent in my writing across all mediums in order to maintain a decent level of typing/writing, but it is fun to adapt language into ways that make an impression on people without having to say too much. When sending messages to someone, whether texts, Tweets or Snaps, I try to keep my remark quick and catchy, getting my point across. If I’m sending a message to someone professionally, I keep to good grammar and proper language, but with people I’m closer to, I try to use my typical colorful language with them. I figure if I text the same way I would speak, there is less of a chance of miscommunication. Word choice is super important on social media. Your audience in most cases is going to be a big factor on what and how you choose to make your statement. On blogs and many aspects of FB, you can choose to state a lengthier remark, explaining yourself. On Twitter or SnapChat on the otherhand, you need to be able to make your statement in a much more restricted platform. In this situation, you need to choose words that are going to complete your statement, or entice your audience to want to know more about what you are saying.
Photo: Mike Whiter Photography.
I filter the information people can know about me online while still trying to remain authentic. Coworkers and family have access to view my content, and although I know I can edit my privacy settings, I try to remain transparent without giving away too much. Aspects of my personal life I try to not flaunt or allude to on the internet to avoid any criticism. The aspects that I do wish to share to my general populace are more often than not highlights of my life; focusing on “shareable” moments that I am excited or passionate enough about to share. A majority of my FB “friends” are acquaintances at best. Knowing this, I try to censor my sob stories and keep those moments to people I actually interact with on a day-to-day basis. I try to stay true to my Los Angeles (makes me sound tough but I am actually a Valley girl) upbringing and incorporate a few of my favorite mannerisms/imagery/language/attitude throughout my profile/blog voice which aren’t typical to the Midwest.
I try to post content which I believe my “friends” should care about as much as I care about posting it. I focus on posting credible links and not repost anything which is false or totally misleading. I try not to get too political and instead post content on issues which are universal. Although sometimes I post things I find funny, or friends post links on health and fitness or, let’s be real, how to make a gin and tonic slushy (yum!). In the past two years, my I have been focusing my attention on Veteran’s affairs. Not the VA specifically, although that is definitely a huge part of it, but the day-to-day struggle of veterans, young and old. Two years ago and some change, I started dating my boyfriend who is a Afghanistan combat vet. We’ve been living together now for about a year? (time flies!) and I was submerged in a world that I knew very little about previously. Knowing how little I knew about the obstacles these men and women face everyday, everynight, I make a conscious effort to expose my peers to their experiences. Even further, I now work on campus with veterans through the Veterans Educational Training program. The program is for veterans and their dependents who are looking to get back into school.
So who am I online? I’m the paraphrased version of myself; Slightly edited, but you get the point. I think this is important because not everyone on my friends-list is a close friend who I would share more intimate, uncensored information and values with. What I do hope to put forth is someone who is passionate about important issues which are close to home, as well as abroad. Yes, I post my life highlights, but the highlights are my achievements which I have accomplished, experienced or feel passionate enough about to share. These experiences are something I wish to share with those close to me, and if by default others are exposed too, so be it!