Thursday, March 6, 2014

 We're All Getting Along So Well...

The SSU Professional Social Media Certificate Program continues to be an enlightening experience although my favorite class thus far was the service learning evening a few weeks back.  We students were charged with explaining to volunteers from the SSU faculty about the social media channels we felt we knew the most about.
I felt pretty shaky about all of them but chose Linkedin and worked with Angela, a recruiter at a software firm, to help an SSU professor brainstorm about marketing tactics for his current and upcoming books, published papers and professional speaking appearances.
Angela had a very firm grasp of Linkedin and was exceedingly helpful to the Professor.  And surprisingly, it turns out I knew more than I realized and was able to take years of marketing experience and apply it to ways the Professor could use Linkedin to reach his target audience.  It was an outstanding experience and gave me a boost of confidence about using social media in general and Linkedin in particular.
Weeks ago, Merith set up a special Linkedin group just for our inaugural class and we’ve been posting and commenting ever since.  Angela put up an interesting piece this week about a woman who was publically exposed by someone who extended an invitation to connect and got an outrageously snarky and mean-spirited response.
My grandmother always said never write anything down that you wouldn’t want published on the front page of the local newspaper. Ms. Blazek should have been given the same advice.  Granted, the response could have been her reaction to a horrifying day in which she’d just heard some terrible news either about herself or a loved one.  In other words she could have been acting out—something that, let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty of at one time or another. But how she couldn’t have imagined her remarks might travel beyond the woman asking for the connection to, at the very least, her group of friends and associates, is beyond me.  Even more confusing, the Blazek woman was in the business of giving advice about getting work.  Isn’t that sort of like being in the business of selling shoes and reaming someone out for asking to see that boot in a size 7?
Bad manners aside, the story has stuck with me all week long and got me to thinking what social media really means.  Social doesn’t mean intimate and there was a "familiarity breeds contempt" sort of intimacy about Ms. Blazek’s response that I see all too often in comment sections on blogs and newspapers. Respondents often resort to personal digs and name calling (and much worse) when they read an opinion with which they don’t agree.  There’s nothing social about being mean but that’s where we are.  Sometimes it feels like while social media has given us greater access to our publics, our manners haven’t yet caught up.
Remember Rodney King?  Can’t we all just get along?
I'd love to hear what you think?  Is the "social" in social media misplaced?   

photo credit:
<a href="">Michael 1952</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>