My initial understanding of social media was simple– “people can share stuff; companies use social media for marketing; and it’s not complicated.” Boy, was I misinformed. I knew there was some science to analytics, for example, but I did not realize what all social media entailed. Not really. “How could I not?,” I told myself when I began this class. “I’m on social media every day. I’ve been on some form of social media for 15 years.”
I was unaware of the fact that 28.3 billion dollars in social media advertising money were predicted to be spent by the end of this year (“Social Network Ad Spending to Hit $23.68 Billion Worldwide in 2015,” 2015).
At the time, I was on Facebook. I was on Facebook with only about 20 friends on a newer account that I created earlier this year. I also had a Pinterest account…with a few pins. I’ve written a few other blogs posts of my own accord on WordPress this year. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot about social media and my stance has changed dramatically.
Twitter was my first real wake-up call. I used to look down on Twitter, as I tend to do with any social media outlet my mother frequents. Despite knowing about Twitter for a long time, I never created an account. Taking the class forced me to. I learned how useful it is for news, product and company updates, and for customer service. Additionally, I had no clue that there were “active chats” on Twitter (though, it sounds stupid of me to have thought otherwise). Now, I would say that it’s impossible for me to look down on Twitter, because I now see it as an indispensable tool.
Although I was fairly familiar with WordPress, I learned about the importance of tagging. I also learned about the importance of mentions and content in relation to SEO. Although I’ve written a blog and made my own pages and accounts outside of class, I had no idea that Hootsuite even existed. I found myself just nodding along with excitement as I began intuitively scheduling content, “you mean, this sends it for me?” Genius.
I think the biggest shock for me is the importance of building a brand for myself through social media.According to Stroller, many professionals have jumped onto the idea of personal branding because social media presents many opportunities to self-promote (2013). Personal branding is a three (or more) step process that requires continuous learning (Khedher, 2014). Though, again, it sounds stupid of me to have thought that maybe personal branding wouldn’t be important for my future career or that maybe I wouldn’t have to be as meticulous about it.
Ultimately, all of the information I’ve gathered is completely applicable to my future career, and I greatly appreciate that. However, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that fact that what I mostly learned in this class about social media is that I have a lot more to learn about social media. Social media is an ever-present learning process as platforms continue to evolve, become obsolete, and/or are replaced. Social media is fun, but, fundamentally, social media is a tool that I need to master. Continually.
Khedher, M. (2014). Personal branding phenomenon. International Journal of Information, Business and Management, 6(2), 29-40. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/1511120777?accountid=39473
Social Network Ad Spending to Hit $23.68 Billion Worldwide in 2015. (2015, April 15). Retrieved November 18, 2015, from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Social-Network-Ad-Spending-Hit-2368-Billion-Worldwide-2015/1012357
Stoller, E. (2013). Our shared future: Social media leadership vulnerability and digital identity. Journal of College and Character,14(1), 5-10. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/jcc-2013-0002