After carefully flying under the radar my Facebook page finally succumbed to Timeline. Since that fateful, involuntary crossover, it truly has been a roller-coaster of emotions (or maybe for Iphone enthusiasts, ‘roller-coaster of emojicons’). First I was annoyed, because learning the new format seemed tedious. Then I was intrigued, I started to notice some features that were more appealing. My intrigue then switched to excitement, specifically over adding a new banner picture. It wasn’t until about two weeks in that I noticed the feature that so aptly gives Timeline its name, the timeline.
As a rising senior its time to start applying for jobs, and Facebook privacy is definitely a concern for many young people also entering this phase of their life. On the old profile system, it would take a lot of effort for a future employer to comb through a million wall posts and tagged pictures. On the old system, you could hide your tagged pictures with one easy step. Now that I have Timeline, I set out to hide my tagged pictures. I very quickly discovered what a difficult process it has become. Facebook’s official help center website explains the new process. Now you must individually hide each post or photo from your timeline for it to be private. Its practically impossible. I made my Facebook on August 1, 2007, five years of posts and pictures, after two hours I finally gave up.
Facebook makes it clear that if a user finds this process of privatizing too tedious, their advice is to ‘untag’ photos. It is unclear why Facebook seems dedicated to complicating their privacy options. But as a young person potentially heading into the corporate world, my Facebook privacy remains a concern. Do I spend the hours trying to erase a five year web history that Facebook is advertising I celebrate? Do I want everyone to have access to my awkward teen years which are now immortalized? Do I deactivate?
I think that these are questions that many young people should be asking themselves. How important is the visibility of our pasts to the bigger picture? Timeline has been forced upon a lot of people, and the new format definitely pushes these questions into the spotlight.
Example: Awkward 15-year-old version of myself…immortalized.
This summer was the first time that I truly realized how behind on new media I was. Don’t get me wrong- I love Facebook to connect with friends while I am away at school, upload photos to Instagram on a daily basis and update my LinkedIn for job opportunities, but still find the numerous platforms of new media around us unnecessary. However, I do realize that new media it is an important aspect today in the worlds of public relations and communications which is why I chose to follow this industry over the semester in order to have a greater understanding of this ever-growing phenomenon.
Interning this summer at an e-commerce that prided itself on their social media and technology, my company was up-to-date on every new media outlet to reach their customers and audience. Our social media intern was a wiz at every form of social media, which sometimes even became annoying when she would need to “check-in” wherever we would go on foursquare. As a PR intern, my supervisors told me to create a Twitter to follow brands and media outlets that we worked with to get a better glimpse into what our audience was currently working on and saying. They were surprised that as a college student and more importantly as a PR major, I didn’t have a Twitter. Reluctantly I created a Twitter but only used it to “follow” people rather than actually to “tweet.”
I am currently taking a Social Media for PR class at Penn State this semester which has really taught me to recognize the importance of the various forms of social media including Twitter. I previously never thought about using a Twitter because I already had a Facebook and wondered if people actually cared that much about what I was saying or doing. One of my first assignments was to “tweet,” “@reply,” “retweet,” and “follow” an exorbitant amount of times in one week. This really forced me to face my fear of “tweeting.” Now that my assignment is over, I have seen myself appreciating Twitter and continuing to use it. I have started following various people and companies in the public relations and social media industry who provide useful links to articles and create meaningful topics for conversation. Twitter is also a great way to stay up to date on the latest information with its constantly updating news feed. I am still figuring out the proper Twitter lingo, but I hope to continue to strengthen my Twitter skills which will help me later in the public relations field. I think that for a public relations professional, learning the different social media platforms is important to connect and interact with your target audience.
So “follow” me, “tweet” at me @kimschmohl.
My first foray into new media was right around the fourth grade. Nine-years-old and I had my first email address (Hurricaneem16@aol.com). Nothing was more entertaining to my younger-self than calling up my best friend (Soccermania91@aol.com) to inform her that I had sent her an email, and that she should respond ASAP. I am confident that if any of this BFF correspondence were documented it would have consisted of a simple, “Hi. What is up?” or something along those lines.
Now a rising Senior at Penn State University, my how things have changed. My Gmail account allows all three of my email addresses to be funneled into one location. I have a TweetDeck account so that my professional and nonprofessional Twitter accounts can be managed accordingly. I visit my Facebook more times in one day than is healthy, and my Instagram account tweets out a link every time I post a photo. Holy social media! It’s safe to say the phone call/email correspondence I had going on way back in 2000, would not cut it in 2012.
Some have described this social media centric, new media world as living life in a fish bowl. I say it’s more like living in Sea World. Nothing is entertaining about watching a fish circle his bowl, and nothing is entertaining about only following someone on twitter. The people want Sea World, and that is what their getting. The mundane has become equally as fascinating as the larger events that used to spark public conversation. Both the fantastical and the ordinary are open for discussion and the forum is all things social media.
Over the past three years of my college experience social media has been an integral piece. Meeting and sustaining new friends the first couple weeks of freshman year was made infinitely easier thanks to Facebook, as was that first summer apart from all these budding friendships. Twitter offers students minute to minute updates on not only their social lives but also real world news. Its not just college social life that has been impacted either, higher education is on board. Professors rely on email for handing in assignments and for instant communication with their students. New media has permeated not just our social agendas but also our educational agendas.
So yes, college life and new media are most likely going to be intertwined for a very long time. Yes, new media is constantly changing and growing. Yes, the world is watching, but hey, if we are living in Sea World we might as well take advantage of the benefits of all this connectivity because it’s highly unlikely that things will ever go backwards. New media is here to stay.