This semester, “Social Media” is one of the four classes in which I enrolled. Topics ranged from maintaining our social media identities, increasing our Klout scores to protecting our privacy and discussing surveillance to studying how social media is relevant to economics, relationships, and marketing.
Starting with an 11 Klout score at the semester start, I wanted to see an increase. Posting messages and uploading video content to Twitter and Facebook increased my Klout score……. to 35! Though this score is lower than my Social Media classmates and professor, it reveals to me that I have much more influence now than my initial score. According to my Klout dashboard, my classmates and professor have commented on the content I have posted on Twitter. It’s great to know that my peers and professor retweet my tweets or comment on my posts for it implies the material I upload is noteworthy.
Taking a social media class with Dr. Billinson has given me a new understanding of not only how social media is used, but how it is spread. For example, we discussed the meme to better understand how ideas, behaviors, words, gestures, and videos are spread from person to person. Though I have heard of a meme in a book I read, I didn’t consider it’s application to social media. It helped to comprehend how one thing, such as a sound or phrase, can permeate and embed itself in our popular culture like the well-known song “What does the fox say”?
An important aspect that we addressed in class is surveillance-the monitoring of citizens on social networking sites and the Internet, in general. This shows how social media can be abused for, after viewing the film Terms and Conditions May Apply, it informed me the danger of signing and agreeing to an electronic document in establishing an account with a company. Coupled with this, it emphasized how that concession can compromise my privacy. It broadened my awareness about signing my name to a legal contract for once my name is signed, I must follow the rules and regulations. Alway read the fine print!
Additionally, reading the document titled “Social Media Privacy-A Dozen Myths and Facts”, informed me of the misconceptions people hold about social media privacy.
Yet another topic I found particularly interesting and enjoyable is maintaining our personal identity and developing relationships with others over the Internet. It raised the issue of creating fraudelent accounts to mislead others in believing we are a particular person that may exaggerate- or differ entirely from- our true self. As illustrated in the movie Catfish, I observed how one photograph of a beautiful, young woman deluded one gullible man named Nev. This movie did an excellent job of teaching why we should be suspicious of the pictures we see on social networking sites. Additionally, the situation with Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o illustrated how one photograph of a pretty woman deluded him into thinking she was someone he knew intimately-to only find out she didn’t exist!
My opinion of the most important challenge facing the social media environment today is privacy and security for advertisers entice us to submit our personal information in exchange for catering to our individual needs and wants. Along with them, the government tracks us through our social networks and on-line behavior. As we value them like we value our lives, we must think twice about what we reveal about ourselves for when we surrender our personal information to on-line companies and organizations (many are reputable and trustworthy while others are not), we hand them the ability to use it in whatever way they choose-for better or worse. I believe citizens need to be cautious and vigilant about the content they post for once it’s out there, it stays there forever.