The Social Media Homestead: developing an online strategy.

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When discussing a social media strategy, people tend to think of large corporations such as Apple, Microsoft and P&G and the advertising campaigns they utilize when launching a new product or brand. However, with the rise of social media in everyday life, each individual has a brand that they should take just as much care and consideration in developing as large corporations are apt to do.

Before taking the WRT232 course, my use of social media was fairly limited. I had used Twitter sparingly, tending to read more than tweeting. My Facebook account also saw limited use. I would wish someone happy birthday, but would shy away from revealing too much personal information on that site. But both these social media sites have potential to reach beyond their leisurely use. Many business have Facebook and Twitter accounts to push marketing, interact with customers and help with their online initiatives.

How does one go about developing an online strategy? It’s not something that most individuals have a plan for although they do a fair amount online, such as discussing popular issues with friends and acquaintances, reading online news stories, posting and viewing videos and pictures. This is in the periphery of another blog post of mine in which I discussed the establishment of online personae. Not only should we educate people about the long-term effects of online behavior, we need more education on how an online media strategy can offer tremendous benefit far beyond what would have been possible twenty or thirty years ago.

A few days ago, my New Media class had the opportunity to read about some teens who had posted some racist material after the presidential election. Although Jezebel has faced some criticism about ratting out these teenagers, I think the point about how this will affect these teens has been overlooked. What happens when an employer does a web search on these teens in the future? Most of their names will probably show this article and the offensive material they put on the Internet. While some employers or colleges/universities may take into account that they were young adults, many may not. Can we actually blame them if they do consider these comments? An important thing to remember when posting online, once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.

When developing an online strategy, one thing to consider is the audience of your post, pictures, and comments. There are many boards and blogs where comments like the ones from those teens above would not raise any eyebrows.

Woman flipping the birg in Arlington Cemetery

Don’t do this.

However, when posting anything online, there is the possibility that an unintended audience could see it. This woman posted an offensive photo of herself at Arlington Cemetery. She never intended to cause such a furor. I’m unaware of what the status of her Facebook profile is, but that audience can include a large number of people with different sensibilities.

I have always believed my online behavior should match my offline one. If I can’t do something in person, it means I should not do it online. Adhering to a similar position would save a lot of heartache and headache for many individuals. Because many grow up with social media, this sensibility tends not to be prevalent in many younger adults. This makes it even more necessary to understand and respect the power of social media.

Developing a clear online media strategy can help identify your intended objective. Is it just to have fun or entertainment? One thing that is different from twenty years ago is the permanence offered by the online medium. Also, people can utilize the Internet for e-portfolios and posting their resume online. Blogs can show the personality of an individual without the benefit of meeting that person.

Websites such as Linkedin offer the opportunity to network with other professionals beyond attending job interviews and conferences. I have used this website for years. Keeping these online resources updated could help with finding a new career or a new job if someone is out of work.

Individuals have failed for the most part in having vision in their online behavior. That’s where education on the benefits and consequences could improve the condition and diminish the number of people who suffer from bad online behavior. There are many resources to help in developing a media strategy. Some people also believe developing a content strategy goes hand in hand with that.

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