Social Media Sites Surpass Porn, and J-students Take Note

Filed in Sharisax Is Out There 7 comments

This summer I’ll be teaching a social media course for journalism students at Laney College in Oakland, and I got the opportunity to promote the class for the students in the Mass Media & Society course.

Here is the lovely story written by campus newspaper editor Tracey Tate:

Weiss spreads the word about social networking

By: Tracey Tate
Posted: 2/18/10
Laney Tower

“I unfriended you, posted it on my wall and tweeted it to all my followers.”

If that statement sounds like “Greek” to you, then you should have been present at “Making Sense of Social Media” presented by Shari Weiss, social media evangelist, on Feb. 9 in Journalism Department Chair Burt Dragin’s Mass Media and Society class.

An English teacher at Laney, Weiss is on a mission to spread the word about the benefits of social networking. She defines Social Media as “internet tools and platforms for sharing and discussing information.”

The top four social networking tools Weiss considers noteworthy are the following:

Facebook – the source of “unfriend,” which was 2009 “word of the year” in the New Oxford American Dictionary

Twitter – where one communicates via ‘tweets’ to their followers, a micro-blog

Blogging – a personal diary or web log

LinkedIn – a professional networking website

When asked how Facebook compared to MySpace, Weiss made this comparison

“MySpace is like being at a bar, Facebook is like being at a backyard barbecue and LinkedIn being at the office.”

With employers now checking out potential employees on the Internet prior to hiring, Weiss’ analogy about the world of online social networking was timely for a room packed with college students. “Once you put something on the Internet, you can’t get it back. It’s there forever,” Weiss said.

She told an anecdote about a woman who had her professional reputation slammed on Yelp and emphasized the need for everyone to be Internet savvy. Weiss then encouraged the audience to understand the importance of building a positive presence on the Web so that any negative information online will be “buried” by the good dominating the bad comments.

How “worthwhile” is social networking?

Conversation ensued about the worthiness of social networking. Student Naytasha Howard asked if social media would ever outrank porn on the Internet. Weiss and others in the class quickly responded, “It already has.” Others chimed in about the value of social media. Student, Christopher Fitz said, “Social Media is a tool to enrich our lives.”

Enrichment is exactly what Weiss promotes as a social media evangelist. In a time when self-promotion and viral marketing is becoming mainstream, using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for business purposes are tools that Weiss believes are indispensable for promoting one’s business or self. Keys to successful promotion include building a loyal community of followers on Twitter, building a fan base on Facebook and joining discussion groups on LinkedIn.

When asked by Weiss “Why do we care about social networking?’ several viable reasons were given by students. Kale Williams responded that every decent job has found has been through friends and that he just received an internship from his Facebook posting.

Marketing efforts for big companies turning to social media

Weiss emphasized the value social media for business purposes with the example Pepsi, who was a missing regular in this year’s Super Bowl commercials. When the decision makers at Pepsi did the research, they realized that they were not reaching their target audience by spending $2.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. Their marketing dollars would be better spent using social media.

In a society where the virtual highway is getting wider and the traffic speeding up exponentially, social networking has become a necessity, not a pastime.

To connect with Weiss on her blog, go to sharisax.com. That’s sax as in saxophone, which Weiss plays in her spare time.

© Copyright 2010 Laney Tower

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   22 February 2010
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Comments
Feb 23, 2010
12:15 am

Last year, my e-Commerce professor and I got into a lengthy (since I’m an online student, it was via e-mail) discussion about Internet porn. The course text stated that only 3% of Internet usage was “adult content.”

I questioned this, saying that I had heard that it was actually pornography that drove the early growth of the Internet. He said that while he doubted this was absolute truth, he did direct me toward some informative sites.

Incredibly, at that time, it was estimated (exact figures are impossible as much content is generated by mobsters, particularly in the former Soviet Union) that the amount spent on porn was $3000.00 a second. (Imagine what could be accomplished with those kinds of funds?)

It is good to hear that a positive result such as Social Media is surpassing that. As my former professor stated, the Internet of yore was like the Wild West, but just as law and order was brought to it, so it has with the Internet. Let us hope this great trend continues.

Author Feb 23, 2010
12:22 am

Gregory, I’m with you . . . on the hope that this trend continues. The reason I am a social media “evangelist” is because I truly believe that the the world — and ESPECIALLY the Business World — will be incredibly better when we treat each other with more respect, compassion, honesty, transparency, and supportiveness.

I believe this can happen; indeed, it must.

Feb 23, 2010
12:35 am

Your response brings to mind my latest blog entry. I’ll repost it here with the hope it isn’t a waste of bandwidth. 😉

What kind of “Netizen” are you?

February 18, 2010
In the real world, most of us strive to be good citizens. But what about in the virtual world?

It would seem that the anonymity offered by the Internet leads some to be less than honest. This, while perfectly legal in most cases, is a travesty nonetheless.

Too often unsrcupulous individuals use the inconspicuousness of the ‘Net to hide their true agendas, lying in wait for innocents so that they may take advantage of them. The saddest aspect of this is that many of these wolves-in-sheeps-clothing are so-called professionals. They use conscience-less tactics to prey on the unsuspecting, a causality they would never use in materialization.

This is an atrocity. The very term “professional” connotes one who is acknowledged, adept, and competent. While there are no hard and fast rules that professionals must adhere to, ethical behavior is usually presumed.

For those of us active in social media, it should be requisite for one and all to conduct themselves in a true proficient and conscientious manner, whether for personal or business reasons.

And what are these parameters? Obviously, not using all caps when posting, avoiding offensive material in e-mail, avoidance of personal usage of company resources, i.e. sending personal correspondence, visiting non-business related Web sites, etc.

But one in particular is in the reading of blogs, specifically not posting comments. For those of us that blog, we appreciate when we get feedback. So often an excuse is used: “Well, I read it.” That is not enough. A prime example of someone who is courteous in this is “Winnie” at SurvivalGuru (http://survivalguru.wordpress.com/).

She is an author who writes for the lovelorn, and consistently is kind enough to comment on whatever blogs she reads. This is true professionalism, taking the time to let others know that she not only “read it” but also let the blogger know she did.

As we move boldly into this brave new world of social media, let us each strive to be true professionals in our conduct, lest our reputations be sullied by our actions, or lack thereof.

Author Feb 23, 2010
12:49 am

Thank you so much for sharing this Gregory! I hope we can get more people to see this as a comment. If we don’t, I may ask you if I can re-print it as a Guest Post.
🙂

Feb 23, 2010
7:36 pm
#5 James :

WOW! Great post! I’m jealous that you get to teach this to people!

Author Feb 23, 2010
7:43 pm

I know. It is COOL! You know when you teach this stuff to many people, they are like sponges just soaking it up and wanting more and more!

May 31, 2012
4:15 am

A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.

I believe that you ought to publish more on this topic, it might
not be a taboo matter but typically people don’t talk about these subjects. To the next! All the best!!

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