What is Social Media Awareness?

Week 1 of my volunteer assignment is officially in the books, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the conversations we’ve had in such a small amount of time.  Due to some privacy restrictions, I can’t mention any of my students by name, but I can certainly share a glimpse into the conversations we’ve had and the information I’ve shared with them.  So let’s jump right in with this week’s focus, an introduction to social awareness.


We’ve all used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and countless other social media platforms, but how much do we really know about them?  I’m not talking about the general functionality of liking a post, sharing a pic or retweeting.  I’m talking about assessing your level of Social Media Awareness, a concept that is easily misunderstood and constantly overlooked.

Social Media Awareness is the ability to understand what impacts your contributions to social media will have from a short-term and long-term perspective.  In the infographic above, which was graciously provided by Statista (www.statista.com), you get a sense of the power of social media by looking at the usages of each platform on a monthly basis.  Consider the fact that Facebook alone has 1.65 billion users a month as of this post, which is roughly about a third of the world’s population.  Could you imagine if even a fraction of that saw something you posted?  Think about it, how did you first hear of the ice bucket challenge? Planking? The water-bottle flip?  The running man?  Chances are very high that you heard of these crazes through social media.

When speaking about Social Media Awareness, I try to demonstrate how absolutely massive and unforgettable the internet can be.  I’m not approaching it from a conspiracy, big brother is watching aspect, but more of just understanding that the actions you take when on social media have a lasting impact.  It’s hard for some to grasp that concept, because of the notion that a simple deletion of a pic wipes the slate clean, which is when I become the bearer of bad news and I remind my students that nothing is ever removed from the interwebs.  Once you post it, like it, love it, share it, tweet it … it’s there … it can always be referenced and it can always be found.

So now that you’ve had a moment to consider all of this, I wonder if you have the same reaction that my students did, who were casually checking their phones as I continued to speak, realizing that they could have benefited from Social Media Awareness months ago.

Next week, I’m going to focus on Facebook and how to properly secure your information.  You’d be surprised by the amount of people who don’t realize that Recruiters use social media, especially Facebook, to build an initial profile of their candidates, so that drunk selfie may not have a great idea after all.

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