As someone with an incredibly searchable name, I have always be hyper-aware of my privacy settings on my social media accounts and websites. It is not surprise that when you search Mattea Juengel all of my websites appear. Fortunately, I grew up at an interesting moment in time - where the social nature of the Internet was hitting its stride as I entered college. Social media was a new tool and many of my peers and I were very cautious and made sure we knew what we were getting into. Since Facebook was only open to college students, privacy settings were built into the social media platform we engaged in. However, when Facebook went public we all knew it was a game changer. It was time to take down any embarrassing photos, change settings, and clean up all of the things you didn't want your Aunt Nancy to see. We were so incredibly aware that everyone could now see everything if we didn't manage our content and settings. We had a common understanding that the Internet is forever.
It seems that this generation, however, is growing up in very different times. Many don't understand how to change privacy settings and those who do often don't bother. As a teacher, my immediate reaction is concern for student development and well being. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have your every thought and mistake recorded permanently for the world to see. This concern is wonderfully captured by a quote in an NPR interview conducted with Google Executives about privacy in the new digital age:
"From birth till your death now, going forward, your online profile will be shaped more and more by online events, what people say about you, and it will be very difficult for you to control that. And so the reality is that a child growing up today will find more and more of the things said about them and the things they do accumulate over time. What we're seeing is, in one generation we're going from a very small number of people having access to information, to almost everyone having access to the entire world's information. That will change almost everything"
What will this next generation do? How will they overcome this potential obstacle as they enter the already large challenge called adulthood? I've heard so many stories where bad social media posts have ruined someone's life. For example, the podcast episode called Silence and Respect from Reply All is ALL about how a girl's life was ruined from one post on Facebook.
Certainly, this problem will only continue to grow as young people continue to engage in social media without using privacy settings. Interestingly, the executives at Google had the following response:
"We believe that these problems can be solved, and one of the great things about our society is that you can write these predictions out, and people will attack them and they will solve them."
What do you think? Will this issue ever be solved? Please feel free to leave a comment and disc
I have studied social media on two fronts: education and marketing. While I have more experience from the educational side, I have found myself studying the marketing aspect as a side interest and secretly (well, not so secretly anymore) find myself REALLY wanting to manage a social media presence for a company.
As a teacher, I have a Facebook page for students. Students were asked to like the page for announcements and extra resources for the course. In order to ensure that students with Internet access were not give an unfair advantage over students without Internet, I decided to limit the kinds of materials I posted. Overall, the page had minimal success. Few students liked the page and I lost interest as a result. Based upon my conversations with students, many were hesitant to like the page because they wanted to keep their private Facebook accounts separate from school. I have had MUCH greater success using Remind for class announcements and continue to use this system extensively. You can find A LOT more information in my action research project from last semester.
When it comes to the marketing perspective, I have far less experience, but much more formal knowledge about the topic. Last summer, I read Inbound Marketing and Likable - two great books for anyone interested in social media marketing. Like the readings from this course suggest, engaging in social media marketing requires a great commitment in time and resources from the company and should not be started without proper preparation. Companies need to establish clear goals and procedures for engaging with the public and and overall strategy should be generated before any accounts are used extensively. The books also clearly emphasized that high quality posts were crucial to the success of a social media strategy. Publishing content that people want to read seems like a no-brainer, but it seems to distinguish the companies that effectively use social media and those who do not. It is my hope that as I continue with my graduate coursework, I will learn the extra pieces necessary to effectively manage social media accounts and will find an opportunity to apply it.
Mattea Garcia is a passionate creative educator dedicated to improving the student experience. This blog is dedicated to reflections on educational technology tools, instructional coaching, and educational equity.