The Ins and Outs of Social Networking

The Social Strategy

The college generation uses social media every day. In fact, most generations use social networking sites (SNS) on a regular basis. These SNS are only used for personal use in those cases, but they’re constantly used by businesses too. Kimberlee Morrison lays out the five steps to a successful “social system” in her article, “The Social Strategy.” Morrison claims that as long as you follow each of these marketing steps correctly, your company will find social media success:

  1. Social Identity
  2. Community Activation
    • Generate conversation about the company
  3. Content Strategy
    • Produce good quality, consistent, relatable content
    • Stay true to the brand
  4. Social Campaigns
    • Don’t rely heavily on these campaigns
    • They only provide short-term wins
  5. Social Intelligence
    • The most important, and overlooked, aspect of the social strategy online
    • Social intelligence guides the consumer’s decisions
Developing a personal brand, and promoting it effectively, are the most important aspects to a company’s social networking success. Photo Credits: Retaliate 1st

A Networked Self

On a more individual note, we also develop brands for our personal SNS accounts. Zizi Papacharissi believes that our role online is a dramaturgic one. Dramaturgy is a sociological paradigm that suggests the world is our stage, so people are always putting on an act. What does this mean in terms of social media?

“Social Media is a potentially infinite cycle of concealment, discovery, false revelation, and rediscovery.”

Papacharissi suggests individuals perform on multiple stages online as well, so they confuse private and public boundaries. She says our social media presence is the performance on stage, while our authentic self is backstage.  I can see how this is true on SNS like Facebook and instagram. We only post photos, updates, or links on our accounts if they fit the role we are playing. Our captions and bios are well thought out. The amount of likes we get shows the number of friend we have. The whole process is extremely egocentric.

Young adults constantly worry about their appearance and they change it based on their audience. So, who is their true self? Photo Credit: Tumblr

This is extremely true with young adults. Our social connections seem to authenticate ourselves. So, when we don’t get enough likes or comments on a post, we will adjust our persona. This contributes to a fluid identity in an “equally flexible reality.” In this case, it’s not a community we’re looking for, it’s validation. It all seems a bit cynical to me, but is there a way to change it?



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