Social media is a double-edged sword. It enhances communication, and creates convenient and efficient mass-marketing and promotional methods. Communication can be constant and news becomes instantaneous. With social media, people can always know what is going on in the world. Just this past weekend news of Whitney Houston’s death broke out on twitter 27 minutes before the mainstream media, according to mashable.
Yet social media also offers an easy alternative to in-person communication. Reporters used to go out and find sources. They stuck their noses into other people’s business. Now, we email potential sources, tweet at them, or send them facebook messages. Perhaps it makes communication easier, or perhaps it does the opposite. What happens when we actually have to go interview that person?
And personal relationships with family, friends, and significant others are affected too. I’ve heard plenty of stories about people breaking up over Facebook chat, and kids being tormented by cyber-bullies. Through social media, however, I’ve also been able keep in touch with a German-exchange student I met in high school, and talk to my family and friends on a daily basis, despite being apart.
Socialnomics shows this in its Valentine’s Day video. Through Groupon, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets ‘Zack’ pulls off a Valentine’s Day miracle, only to end up breaking up with ‘Rachel’ after she tells him she loves him. What saved their relationship, is also what destroyed it.
Sometimes messages are misunderstood. Without context, people can tweet something misinformed, or people may read a message without understanding its true meaning. You can’t imitate tone or body language.
It can also ruin a reputation. A Chrysler social media employee swore in tweets about Detroit (while the company was beginning its “Imported from Detroit” campaign) , costing him his job, and Chrysler a great deal of criticism. New York politician Anthony Weiner damaged his career as well when he tweeted a picture of his private parts back in May 2011 – also known as the Weinergate scandal.
Social media is what you make of it. It can create fame. Take, Sophia Grace & Rosie, for example. The YouTube video of them rapping Nicki Minaj’s ‘Super Bass’ has over 30 million hits, and now they’ve appeared on The Ellen Show multiple times, and even walked the red carpet for the Grammys.
There is no way to be sure if social media will be successful for each individual situation; however, you can be careful with it. The ‘send’ button is a gift: use it! While talking in person creates incredible conversations that could never be engineered through a Facebook post, social media gives you the ability to edit. Rather than saying what’s on your mind, you can type it out, look it over, change the wording, and finally hit send.
One click could make or break you.