Facebook and social media positives, negatives

March 17, 2009

I’m on a Facebook fast.

My decision to refrain from typing my e-mail and password into that chunky blue box led to an uproar of confusion filling my wall and text message inbox Sunday night.  Fellow bloggers Amanda and Shantae don’t believe I have the self-restraint necessary to make it a few days without my favorite social network.  It’s okay: I doubt myself, too.

No Facebook

So why did I decide to give up Facebook, anyway?  It all started as an innocent choice to log in and view what my 12-year-old cousin posted on my wall.  I justified my decision as a means to take a quick break while studying for a midterm.  That “break” quickly turned into a 45-minute affair of reminiscing over my 2006 senior high school prom pictures while watching two of my friends host a wall-to-wall discussion over where to eat dinner Monday night.  Before I knew it, my brain was circling in tangents over how classy my prom dress was when it should have been focusing on the difference between SEO and SEM.

In simpler terms: Facebook wastes time.  And like many college students, I’ve learned time is a precious commodity.

Although Facebook has proven to waste time in my day-to-day life, I like what PRKent graduate Alexia Harris said in a tweet:

You definitely must be an expert at multitasking when participating in the s-media community. It’s easy to lose track of time.

She’s right.  Social media can serve its purpose if you’re willing to manage your time effectively.  And according to Shel Holtz, social media can be a blessing for PR professionals who are crunched for time by allowing quick monitoring, a means to bypass and/or reach the press and access to research through blog polls and RSS feeds.

However, I think Jason Falls brings up a great point each PR student and professional must remember: Social media isn’t everything.  In his post, Falls reminds PR professionals that the type of social networking that opens doors is face-to-face communication.  We’ve all heard examples of people getting jobs through Twitter or Linked In, but it’s usually those budding relationships within social networks that lead to worthwhile F2F moments.Prom Picture

What’s the lesson in all of this? Social media plays a hip, “happening” role in public relations, but PR students and professionals can’t afford to lose sight of the most important relationships: face-to-face.

And for those of you who have been thinking about my classy prom dress ever since I mentioned it in the third graf, here’s a snapshot!


One comment

  1. Rebecca,

    This post hits home. I always thought of Facebook as a sticky spider Web. I view my homepage, notice some random person I only spoke to in high school twice updated her picture – I’m intrigued (what does she look like now?) – my eye grazes over our common friends, I spot more people I haven’t seen in nearly four years, and the Web slowly wraps around my little Facebook feet.

    But here’s some advice: I stopped Facebooking on a regular basis about a year ago. Why? Well, I accidentally stepped on my laptop’s screen, and I now can only see about 2/3 of what I’m writing. It was sad, but really effective in keeping me off Facebook – it’s just not fun when most pictures and posts are obscured by black and gold blobs. If you have a laptop, I suggest stepping on the screen. For desktop users, you may consider water on the keyboard. It’s the only method I’ve known to work. If you’re thinking of quitting cold turkey (a.k.a. not ruining your computer), you may take time to create your own social networking site – at least that’s a resume builder!

    Good post!

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