Let’s all join and become part of the herd

This short excerpt of the “Friend Face” episode of the British comedy “The IT Crowd” is a great introduction to a blog about social media. It not only points out several of the funny nuances related to social media sites but comedically points out how easily we’re all sucked in to the everyday need to check our networks.  The show may be heavily mocking the popular social networking site of Facebook, but one can’t help but notice the undeniable truth that social media has a captive and engaged audience.

Personally, I use Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest the most. I use Facebook because the majority of people I’m interested in hearing news from use this service. In the past, people may have needed to wait until a high school or college reunion to really know where and what their classmates are up to now. Not my generation. There’s no need for a reunion when all of you are still connected over social media, reading each other’s status updates everyday even when it may be too much information. I use Facebook more as a watch and listen sort of tool; I’m not a huge poster and am more of a passive user. For LinkedIn, I’m fairly active and work to connect with professionals in my area, especially since I just became a director of an organization. As to Pinterest, I use this service to gain ideas, explore new fields and, let’s be honest, to relax and waste time once in awhile. It was great for gaining cheap, yet classy ideas for my wedding last summer and can always be depended upon for a good recipe at dinnertime. Here I am much more active. I pin fairly regularly and am followed by quite a few people and entities, including TLC. I also use Twitter, but much less regularly.

Professionally, I use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Yelp, Flickr and Linked In. The main one is Facebook because a good representation of my target audience is on the site. I spend a lot of time formulating posts, actively recruiting new Likes and analyzing the data represented by this site.  Pinterest and LinkedIn are also good uses of my work time. The other networks I use professionally have yet to really gain interest from the majority of the stakeholders at my organization.

All in all, I find social media to be incredibly interesting and want to learn more. I spent one summer conducting research related to new media and the 2012 presidential campaign. I traveled my home state of Wyoming moderating focus groups and exploring why rural social media users tend to be slower adopters of social networks, followed by research related to how social media is affecting young voters perceptions and opinions of candidates. You can watch the presentation of that research. Now professionally, this idea of slow adoption is still of interest, but now more related to ideas on how I can engage users who are normally slow to adopt new media.

Besides interest centered on slow adoption, I find it important to stay up-to-date on different social media sites and am interested in what keeps users engaged on different platforms. While I do heavy analysis of my organization’s Facebook posts each month and know how to keep this users engaged, expanding my outlook to new areas of online engagement can only increase my organization’s visibility in the community and make me a more marketable PR professional.

I’m hoping taking this class will enable me to better influence engagement and make new users think — to quote “The IT Crowd” — “let’s all join and become part of the herd!”

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One comment

  1. Fantastic post, Caitlin! I love the IT Crowd. We’ll talk a lot about engagement this semester, and we’d love it if you would share with us what you’ve learned so far about Facebook engagement. It has become the “holy grail” of most pro social media use.

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