If you were to have told me, about a year ago, that I would be using social media on a regular basis, I would have thought you were insane. To me, social media was nothing more than Facebook and MySpace, nothing more, nothing less.
I thought that blogging was just for nerds and people with just too much time on their hands. However, after one of my PR courses (Strategies and Issues), I found myself slowly getting used to using, and understanding exactly what social media and blogging were.
The course was very social media heavy; understanding the use of blogs and social media sites, how to effectively use social media today, and about half way through the course, each student had to create his and her own blog.
At first, I could not be bothered, and my friend Dara and I would just roll our eyes with sheer boredom. As she became less and less interested in the class, I became more fixated on blogging and the Internet. I was one of the very few students who updated their blogs more than once a week because I was genuinely interested in what I was writing about (Public Relations and Popular Culture).
As my program was winding down, past graduates and PR professionals were invited to the college for a Professional Development Day, that included seminars on compiling a portfolio, resume writing, a mock job interview and a an open Q&A. the woman leading the Q&A group was Zoe Siskos who works for Social Media Group in Dundas, Ontario.
She is like a social media guru, and her company works alongside many very well known companies, establishing them in the realm of the Internet and becoming more social media savvy. Zoe began talking about how awesome and important social media was in today’s world, and she name-dropped a site called Twitter.
“That’s an interesting name for a social media site,” I thought to myself. Zoe explained the concept of it to us and described it as micro-blogging. I took down the website address, and forgot about it for about a month.
When the class ended, so did everyone else’s blogs (with the exception of a few). I decided that since I had grown to love blogging and social media so much, that I was going to continue updating. I also remembered that Zoe mentioned Twitter, so I signed up for an account and was on my way.
Fast forward a few months, I am working full time now. Many of the projects I have been working on, and have been assigned have had a very youth oriented and social media feel. It is now my job and responsibility to create fan pages on Facebook and MySpace, establish a YouTube account, and the biggest, and most important task I am responsible for (and it really is my baby), is the photo blog created to help promote an upcoming event at my work.
I definitely do not mean this in a harsh way, but many of the people I work with and around, have no idea what is going on in the world of social media, or what it really means. During my job interview, I mentioned my online activity and the Special Events Manager and HR Associate looked at me bewildered and asked me to explain further, what exactly a “Twitter” was.
The pair were amazed that I was blogging for a website thousands of kilometres away in Texas, while I sit and write from my home in Ontario. While my co-workers are busy planning the events, I am busy promoting them online.
Sure, I would have been able to do the majority of the things I complete at work without the help of that social media class, but just knowing how to create and maintain projects has really helped. Because of that one small step I made, I find myself more and more interested in learning about social media and dipping my toes into the waters of Web 2.0. There is more to life than Facebook and MySpace, and I kind of like it.
Not only that, but because of Zoe and her passing along of information about Twitter, I would not have met so many great and amazing people from around the world, been able to share and exchange ideas with my new friends, and the most important part, I would not be contributing to Culture Feast.