Personal social media enters professional life

Everyone and their mother has heard that social media is the new frontier. Here is a list of all our new vocab in case you aren’t up to date on your web 2.0 lingo. Our personal lives were the first targets.  Who remembers Myspace? That’s right: everyone. Myspace’s furious rise and rather anti-climactic fizzle out were just a few short years ago. It was all good fun until you couldn’t log onto myspace without 7 bands wanting to be added as a friend. The infamous “myspace picture” pose will go down as a joke for our generation, and our generation only, will understand. While a few social media sites came before myspace, I was blissfully unaware.

Then came Facebook; procrastinator extraordinaire, and now everyone and their mom has one. Literally, when my mom got one I was a little weirded out. While its original purpose, I’m sure, was useful(-ish, I haven’t seen The Social Network), it’s mostly been a major distraction and a source of information I really didn’t need to know in my life. Now, Facebook is both a professional and personal tool. Most businesses, musicians, and organizations have Facebook pages. Hey, there are lots of us. Might as well use it.

I probably use Facebook too much. Don’t we all? Admit it. There are much more valuable things we could be doing online than looking at the pics from that kid’s party we don’t quite know but met once or twice. Then came twitter. 14o characters to get a message across. Also, like Facebook, this is an excellent tool for businesses and organizations. I got a Twitter for a previous internship and I have found it really useful. Besides the standard re-tweet, it’s mostly used for reading news. I’ve always considered it more professional, whereas my Facebook is strictly personal. I don’t use it for work. Then came Environment America’s Facebook campaign. I had to surrender my Facebook personal-only status.

I’d like to think I don’t needlessly spam my “friends”, but here, I didn’t have much choice. I was that Facebook friend you all have, that sends you surveys, petitions, causes you’ve never heard of. I, pretty consistently, hit ignore, unless I am good friends with the sender. I cannot explain to you why this made me so uncomfortable; spamming all of my “friends” to get their signature. The petition is a good cause, it is to tell EPA to implement stronger air quality standards. I shouldn’t have a problem encouraging people to do something so good, but I did.

Social media, both personal and professional, is going to be part of all our careers. I guess I’m just not there yet. One day I hope to reach that happy medium where I am comfortable using my personal Facebook but don’t go overboard, petitioning all of my “friends” for one thing or another. Until then, I guess I’ll just be at awkward event creator on Facebook, a teeny bit unsure who to invite.