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Let’s get social: introducing a new column on social media

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While your platform may not have made it on this short list, social media is weaved into nearly every thread of our world. We may not have an account set up with every vendor, but most of us digital natives interact with social media in some way, and most, I’d argue, on a daily basis.

The implications for our daily lives as a result of innovation and new social media are particularly extraordinary. I don’t want to talk about whether social media is good or bad, but I do believe that social media is a relevant and impactful communication medium in the world in which we live.
It is everywhere around us. It is prevalent in major events in history, it’s a vehicle for us to connect with other humans and it drives the stream of shared information every single day. It is social in definition, but it also has many uses for business, news and an entirely new way of archiving and preserving history.

Though some might argue the disadvantages of sharing horrific images from Hurricane Sandy, social media played a huge role in spreading information and live content from the natural disaster. Instagram was filled with live and telling photos and many of those impacted by Sandy used Facebook to share the simple update with their friends, “we are okay.”

No matter what form of social media you use, you’ve probably also seen a massive amount of updates and tweets relating to the election. Social media has played a vital part in this year’s election, certainly more this year than ever before. But where the real conversation begins is when we start really getting to the heart of the matter and start asking the right questions.

Does social media perpetuate real dialogue? Does it stifle it? Does it invoke more or less honesty and representation of our true self when we can share information while hiding behind a mobile device? Is instantaneous communication better than its predecessor? What’s the best social media platform for my life and for my business? What’s the best way to integrate my many social media pages? Am I “behind the times” if I choose not to participate in popular social media?

It is questions like these and more that I’ll be looking at and I hope you’ll join me in examining closer through means of this column. Social media is an essential topic of discussion that spans across all majors here on campus and will likely be a necessary skill for any field in a job market that is increasingly asking us to be more adaptable, technology-savvy and current with social media.

Have your own opinion or topic you’d like to hear about? Tweet me @jtleeman.

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