Social Networking: Just Social?

So I am a little nervous posting this blog. We haven’t really gone over anything super concrete in class, so I thought it would be fun to incorporate a bit of what I’m going through in my life right now in relation to networks in general.

I ran across this article “Effects of Social Media on Job Prospects” by Lucy Sherriff (which can be found on the Huffington Post website or through this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/25/social-media-job-prospects-impact-should-we-be-scared_n_2550921.html).

As a senior in undergrad, I am constantly badgered by my parents to prepare for life after graduation – specifically to get a job. This article scared me, as it showed me that what I post on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., can actually effect my career and my professional network. Although this article focuses really on the digital footprint one leaves behind when posting on social networking sites (I think that the article’s use of social media can be interpreted to be the same as social networking), I found that it raises some interesting questions about networks and how we, as a community and as individuals, perceive them. We categorize Facebook and Twitter as social media, social networking, etc., yet they are still connected to other aspects of our lives. Even LinkedIn, a popular networking site for careers and professions, is extremely similar to Facebook as a means to connect, communicate, and network with people.

Even though the article seems to be more of a warning on what you post on social networking sites (maybe inappropriate jokes, unflattering pictures, excessive drinking, etc.), there was a quote that raised questions on how individuals can control networks:

“By allowing users to select who specifically can and cannot see a particular tweet, power remains with them. This greater control enables greater use of social media. You can post and tweet confidently, knowing your potential employer won’t see messages meant for friends, and permanent records of what you say online won’t come back to haunt you in the future.”

It is interesting to me that, a) social networking does not just only affect your social network (but your professional life as well), and b) you have the ability to control your networks through these sites (as they offer privacy settings and who you want to share your posts with), as well as how these networks interact. For instance, I could post another blog that only my close friends would be able to see, thus cutting my professional network off from that particular post. As networking pervades modern life, understanding how networks work and function seems that much more essential.

So that’s pretty much what was on my mind in relation to networks today. ‘Til next week.

– Sarah K.

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