Life

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So I was thinking today about my life. Part of me feels like I should actually find my Lava For Life, my reason to be alive, and another part of me feels like I should just keep floating and let life happen. I think that different things work for different people. If you feel that you need to have some set anchors in your life, such as some concrete values and things you strongly stand up for, then so be it. If you feel like floating and drifting along life to ultimately find your Lava For Life, then so be it. Who made all the rules anyway? Whatever works for you, sugar. Whatever works for you. So I keep telling myself this, and I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what I want. But, there is something that spoke to me a couple of days ago when I first saw it in my social media class, and today, when I checked it out again. I think I actually saw some of my own Lava For Life here. I hope you find some of yours here as well. Here’s to your Lava For Life.

Is Privacy Possible?

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Hmmm…good question. Nowadays, we as a global society are connected in so many more ways than we were just a decade ago. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. have expanded our social networking web, both in our personal and professional arenas. Privacy is possible nowadays, but it’s becoming increasingly challenging to keep things strictly private or personal. Social networking sites do have customized privacy settings that allow users to protect their privacy to a certain extent, however, the line between the personal and professional are becoming more blurred and meshed together, according to social media expert Heather Mansfield. As a social media manager, especially in nonprofit settings, blending your personal and professional lives online is something that has to be done in order to be the best advocate for the cause and the nonprofit agency, according to Heather Mansfield. She says “privacy is not dead as long as you are willing to take responsibility for it and take steps to protect it”.

Personally, I think that privacy is possible, but from personal experience, it’s becoming harder to maintain it. For example, I had deleted my MySpace account over a year ago, and recently, I decided to google my name, just to see what would come up. And guess what I found? My MySpace account! All my pictures and information were still there. I’m still baffled and angry about it. I say that if you wouldn’t want your boss or employer finding out about something that has grounds to get you dismissed or fired, then don’t post it. Even if it’s a strictly personal Facebook or other social media page, I personally would be very hesitant to post something too personal on it. My take on this is that it’s just better to “be safe than sorry”.

Reference: Mansfield, H. (2012). A How-To Guide for Nonprofits: Social Media for Social Good. PP. 66, 198. The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Personal vs. Professional Use of Social Media

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Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Google+.  MySpace. Friendster. Orkut. Aaah, the wonderful world of social media. Where would we be without any of these? Where would you be? Whatever did we do before they came about? How many of us use these social media outlets on a regular basis, so much to a point where survival would be difficult without their presence? How many of you use these for personal reasons? Professional reasons? Well, Eureka! (No wonder they’re everywhere.) But then again, they do have their disadvantages. How many times have your own personal Facebook or other social media pages came back to cause you to do you some SERIOUS explaining (to those wonderful parents, grandparents, priests, aunts, uncles, school principals, teachers, you get the idea.)

How many people have been fired because of something “inappropriate” or unprofessional, or “illegal” on their Facebook pages? How many employers check out the Facebook pages of prospective employees, just to make sure that “they’re qualified enough”?  Yes, what we think are personal can come right around to bite our professional bottoms. The boundaries between our personal lives and professional lives continue to be meshed together through social media. So, watch what you post on your pages. You NEVER know who’s watching. Okay, that’s obviously creepy. But it’s the truth. It is so hard to keep things private nowadays! Privacy is gone, according to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Professionally, the use of social media can have enormously positive (or enormously negative) effects on your organization or company. As an organization in 2012, the powerful force of social media is very difficult to ignore. Nowadays, organizations must have a social media outlet in order to survive.

That is because Customer Satisfaction has changed a lot over the years. For example, issues that could be alleviated through company press releases in the past will not suffice today. As stated by Common Craft, today’s customers want an “honest conversation from someone from the company”, and for that, social media is the way to go.

So, we must change with the times, if we want to survive as an organization. Some organizations have one person that is entirely devoted to organizing and updating their social media sites, and responding to consumers/clients/patients/customers via the organization’s social media outlet. Keeping a social media site up and running is obviously serious business. Having an official social media site or two or three or four or however many your organization chooses can help various facets of the organization, from marketing, to spreading awareness, fundraising, customer satisfaction, etc. BUT, it’s important to have one specific objective for the social media outlet. And the objective can’t be any old objective. It has to be a SMART objective by being Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, & Time-Bound, as stated by We Are Media.

I think that it’s kind of funny how things that are totally “in” today were totally “in” back in the day. Like since the beginning of human history. Take the iPad Tablet for example. Didn’t our ancestors use those rock tablets to jot down things when we first started writing as a species? Now look at the all “in” iPad Tablet. It’s like the exact same shape! And social media. Back in the day, word of mouth was the “in” thing. Now, we use social media. I would say that social media is the hyped up, modernized version of word of mouth on steroids. Except that nowadays, instead of our mouths, we use our fingers. Our fingers are the links between our thoughts or what otherwise would be our word of mouth and the keyboard, or the phone keys, or whatever you use to type. I don’t even know anymore, considering how fast everything is updated and innovated.

Social media has enabled people all over the world to connect and network, for personal and professional reasons. Because of Facebook, I can talk to my cousins that are in another continent. THAT is awesome. Personally, I think that privacy is REALLY hard to uphold nowadays, but it’s not impossible. I think privacy is still alive, barely. Social media sites, especially Facebook, have personal settings that allow you to control who gets to see your pictures, status updates, etc., to a certain extent. Because we are more connected through a social web now, information about us has the potential and does spread faster than back in the day when we didn’t have social media to contend with. And as far as having a boundary between our personal and professional selves through social media, I would say that unless you want your seemingly fun and innocent personal photos, statuses, comments, etc. to potentially bite your professional bottoms, to have concrete, non-negotiable rules. One way you can do this is by keeping an intentional method of the friends you accept on a particular social media site. You can have a distinction between your personal and professional self even if you use social media. Ask yourself these questions: Would you prefer this social media outlet to be strictly personal, strictly professional, or a combination of both? You can limit the kinds of friends that you accept based on this decision. For example, if you would like your social media outlet to be strictly personal, then DON’T accept any professional colleagues as friends. If you want your site to be strictly professional, have a preference for professional people like your colleagues and avoid personal friends. If you want to reach a wider audience base, having a combination personal and professional social media site is ideal, but you have to carefully consider the implications of having  both audiences in one place and how that would affect your personal and professional lives. What would happen if one of your personal friends tags you in a post that is “inappropriate” professionally? One way to set clear goals and boundaries with a “combination” social media site is to state the objective of the site at the onset. Let people know what the purpose of the social media site or page is and what rules they must follow if they want to be a contributing member of it.

So, the ever versatile social media outlets can be used for seemingly all of your personal and professional needs. In both areas, social media can be used to express your personal Lava For Life if the site is personal, or your professional Lava For Life, A.K.A. your organization’s objective for having the social media outlet. Here’s to spreading your or your organization’s Lava For Life through social media! (And it’d be even awesomer if both Lavas For Life coincided, wouldn’t it?) I would say that’s a win-win. 😉