Social Media Myths

When we think of social media, we think of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and MySpace primarily.  Some call social media ‘Web 3.0.’ Truth be told, social media has been in existence ever since people could connect to an ISP.  We have forums, newsgroups, mail lists, chat rooms and even guest books.  In fact, we still have these grandparents of social media to this day, and still have great uses.

But I digress.  I read an article from WebWorkerDaily on six common myths which people not in the know believe.  The author, Aliza Sherman, attempts to dispel all the myths and does a great job doing so.  The myths and her explanations are straight forward and clear, but here are some that I had opinions on:

You can easily use your Facebook profile for both your personal life and work.
Aliza discusses that it’s hard to manage your facebook profile for both work and personal life, because it is difficult to have a healthy balance of work and personal life status updates.  I agree that this myth is false, however one thing should be pointed out:  you never know when a friend will turn into a business contact.  My suggestion is to keep work away from Facebook, but to update Facebook with big professional changes/events that happen in your life.  If your friends are truly your friends, they would be interested to know anyway.

LinkedIn is just a resume site.
I believe that LinkedIn is the best ‘social media’ site you can be a part of for your professional career. Making professional contacts and being introduced to 2nd degree contacts is a great way to get to know people and form a healthy network of potential clients, merchants, and yes-employers. While I agree that LinkedIn isn’t just a resume site (the author does a great job explaining this) I don’t think we should be blind to the fact that we ARE essentially putting our resume up for the LinkedIn world to see. Recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates for other jobs. If a current employer is worried about such a ‘problem,’ they should focus less on where their employers are putting their information and focus more on being a great place to work.

Social media is the new advertising platform.
I am not sure how I feel about this myth and whether I agree it’s false or not. The author explains that with this old mentality of “hey, we can advertise on this!” is what caused the boom and bust of the ‘bubble’ back at the turn of the century, that we’d be foolish to apply the same methods of advertising on the social media platform because it’s supposed to bring the power back to the people.

If the myth read, “You can be successful using tried and true methods of advertising on the social media platform”  I would be inclined to agree that it is not true.  However, there is plenty of advertising going on in the social media world.  The ones which are most successful are those which don’t look like advertising at all.

Take a look at Twitter, and at some of the more prolific followers you have.  You’ve followed them for 6 months, they’ve always had interesting things to say, and you agree with most of it.  Then they post a link to their book.  If you’ve been following them and agreeing with them for a while, you’re inclined to go and at least check it out and see if you’d be interested.  You wouldn’t immediately unfollow them because they advertised–if you do, shame on you… stop being so pompous and take it for what it is!

Is this advertising?  YES, and it’s pretty effective!  It’s establishing trust before the purchase, something which is very difficult to do.

In conclusion
The article is very good. I’ve always thought what was missing from the social media world is a clear purpose. This article shows me that there are people thinking about it.

Oh and for my own myth:
Sites such as Facebook and Twitter will eventually be the death of blogging
This is false. Blogs are only enhanced by the usage of Twitter and Facebook. Blogs will always be important because:

  • Easily customizable
  • You can set your own rules and policies on your own blog
  • RSS feeds are a great way to aggregate and read blog posts
  • Much more adaptable to prose writing, which is missing from status updates.

What are your thoughts on social media and some of the misconceptions about it?