Why talk about social media?

Simply making information available is not enough for today’s public. Today’s audiences expect to be able to choose what they read, and most believe they should be able to contribute content and opinions, too. This shift, called the social media revolution, is not the death of journalism as America [and the world] always knew it; it’s the birth of a democratic movement that emphasizes some of journalism’s key factors: transparency, honesty, and giving a voice to the person who doesn’t have one.

These few sentences opened the capstone thesis I wrote during the fall 2009 semester, a project that affected me greatly and that would make an inspiring first-post opener.

And if you’re still reading, it must have worked! I’d like to add a little more about my experiences with social media.

I’ve had a Facebook profile since fall 2006 and a MySpace before that (with a few other things mingled here and there), but I didn’t really begin to understand the effects social media was having until the summer of 2009, when I interned at Corning Incorporated. My main project as an intern there focused on benchmarking how other companies similar to Corning used social media. Before that summer, I didn’t completely understand how social media could be applied to life outside personal conversation. Luckily, that internship helped me research how companies used it on many levels.

Because I enjoyed that project so much, I decided to somehow relate my capstone thesis project to social media. To do this, I conducted research on Social Media’s Impact on Journalism. You can read my paper here: bit.ly/socialmediaandjournalism. After I handed my paper in, my adviser suggested I submit the paper for publication or presentation at a conference. I submitted it to the Rochester Institute of Technology Conference for Undergraduate Research in Communications. I attended in the spring, had my paper published in a book with other selected papers and even won an award for Top Paper in Social Media.

Needless to say, I was stoked!

And best of all, I was sharing information on something I whole-heartedly enjoyed talking about: Social media and how it’s being used in journalism and other professional fields.

Since then, I’ve done a bit of “pro bono” social media work for organizations like Friends of the Chemung River, Inc. This and other experiences helped me focus my interest. Not only did I enjoy learning and talking about social media, but I enjoyed helping smaller organizations understand and employ various tools to help reach their goals.

And that’s what I hope this blog will do:

Help small and/or hesitant organizations and individuals understand and use social media and other new marketing tactics effectively.

With that, we’re off!

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