Impressions on the Social Age

I tweeted it! I didn’t tell anyone!

Posted in Social Media, Twitter by Trace on August 26, 2010

Via: ISTOCKPHOTO

Not long ago, a friend of my finally graduated from college and got her bachelors degree (congrats!), but the thing is, while we are close friends she neglected to mention it to me. Instead, I found out via Twitter. Now, finding information via Twitter is nothing new for someone as Tweeted out as myself, however this was one of those funny times when she’d been so excited she had actually forgot to tell me!

Later in the day, I sent her an IM and she spilled the news. I congratulated her and jokingly asked why I’d read it on Twitter hours before and she said, “I just tweeted it! I didn’t tell anyone!”

That comment gave me pause right away. Is that really what she meant? Later she realized her mistake and said, not that I didn’t tell anyone, but I didn’t tell anyone.

Has our sharing become so autonomous that this girl didn’t think twice in telling her Tweeps about her recent successes, yet didn’t actually think of it as exclaiming to a public feed? Are wires crossed in our heads? Isn’t Twitter a digital equivalent of shouting in a crowded square?

According to a Scientific American from 2008, we might have something crossed. “Public sharing of private lives has led to a rethinking of our current conceptions of privacy.” We don’t really think about privacy in the way that we used to. I sat with my Grandma recently, she was asking me what I was going to do now that I’ve got my MA in Public Communication and what that meant. I went on to talk about social media, new media, and how the world of information is growing and becoming more personalized. She shuddered and said, “It all sounds so narcissistic and petty to me. I’m glad I’m not involved in any of that… What happened to people’s sense of privacy?”

Grandma’s got it right. What did happen to our sense of privacy? YouTube is America’s Funniest Home Video’s run amok, Facebook and Twitter and Foursquare (of FB Places if you prefer) all want us to share all of our information with each other constantly… It’s a barrage of personal data that we used to keep to our chests and now we’re throwing into cyberspace (yep, remember that word?) on a daily, hourly, or minutely(?) basis! It’s a little crazy if you think about it too much.

How can we not think of sharing as… well sharing? I’m not sure, maybe I’ll tweet about it and see if I can get any responses…

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Is Twitter A Step Back?

Posted in Social Media, Uncategorized by Trace on July 14, 2010

As social media becomes more and more accepted as “just plain media,” there are more and more tools and platforms to use this new social mediascape. In July 2006, Twitter launched to lukewarm fanfare, and gradually increased in popularity. As Twitter becomes the half-brother of Facebook – often mentioned as an aside – we start to study it for societal influence and opinion formulation. I love Twitter, I use it every day, every hour even, but isn’t Twitter a step backward?

What is Twitter about? It’s kind of like conversing on a train. It’s about sending information out into the public timeline and sharing that information with whomever wants to listen. You can talk to me, but random people chose to listen in, or shut you out, listening and creating their own conversation.

In comparison…

What is Facebook about? Facebook is like being invited to a private party. It’s about connecting a real person who has added interests, information, photos, purchasing decisions and using this as a digital representation of their personality. It’s like a suburban backyard BBQ, next to a shopping mall. I don’t even see the next party over unless I’m out looking for it, networking style.

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BP Might Care, But Probably Not

Posted in Uncategorized by Trace on June 27, 2010

If you haven’t heard of it by now you’re probably living under a rock. BP Global PR on Twitter is an extremely popular parody account. Started by an anonymous person on May 19th, the account is definitely a parody, though it gives no indication of being so. Currently it has over 179,000 Followers and tweets rather humorous PR-like statements regarding the BP Oil Spill.

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This brings into question, as a PR professional, how can you control a message in this situation? Is it even possible?! The account has been up for a month now, is still active, and seems to be prospering. On the other hand, BP_America the official BP account on twitter (for… America… wanted to point that out just in case) has only 16,000 followers and is mostly an object of ridicule in the Twitterverse.

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Facebook Sells Your Profile

Posted in Social Networking Discovery by Trace on June 7, 2010

Recently, a friend of mine graduated from college interviewed with a large DC tank. This girl is Facebook savvy and keeps out both “The Man” and “Strangers” using the strictest privacy settings possible. As she says, “If I’m not friends with you, then all you know is I exist.”

For an aspiring job hunter in the nation’s capitol, she’s made the right online privacy decisions, right? Wrong.

My friend made three major mistakes. She friended her professional references on Facebook. She assumed her privacy settings actually protected her. And she didn’t anticipate her Facebook security guards were looking for a little extra cash.

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