Path Home Shows 2016 Show Archive August 2016 Show 1633 Social Media: Motive & Balance

Social Media: Motive & Balance

Social media technology can be used to positively affect the classroom, the workplace and all facets of life.
Social Media: Motive & Balance

Social Media: Motive & Balance

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Crystal Washington






Show Details

Show 1633: Social Media: Motive & Balance
Air Date: August 14, 2016



Rob McClendon: Well, since the beginning of civilization, the best technology tends to win out. Sometimes it can take a while, but eventually even late adopters come around to doing things differently. And one place where that has become increasingly evident is with social media and the classroom. Joining me now with more is our new social media coordinator and our same old Courtney Maye.

Courtney Maye: Thank you, Rob. Well, when it comes to social media forums, every generation has a different opinion. Yet more than 50 percent of all Americans are on a social networking site. Sounds like a lot, but when you compare that statistic to the more than 90 percent of millennials who are on social media, you realize there’s a disconnect. Millennials grew up in a connected world, and the generations before them experienced life before computers existed. I talked to social media expert and professional speaker Crystal Washington about the positives and negatives that come with a world that’s more connected that ever before.

Courtney Maye: What do you think is the most valuable social media platform that a young professional can have?

Crystal Washington: I definitely think the most valuable of the social media platforms would be LinkedIn. And that’s only because the culture of the network is business – it’s all professional. And so if you’re trying to connect with scholarship directors or internship coordinators or hiring managers, that’s the place where you’re going to find them, and you’re gonna be able to find them by title and company.

Courtney: And how can someone go about marketing themselves on social media and really finding their brand? And what are some do’s and don’ts for social media?

Washington: When it comes to marketing yourself on social media, I think the No. 1 thing is being aware of the images that you’re putting out. Sometimes, especially with younger people, we have fun, we can do crazy things – that’s great, but make sure that you’re careful of the images that you project. It doesn’t mean that you can’t show your personality. It does mean that we have to think about would a hiring manager appreciate that? The other thing would be is making sure that we actually sell ourselves – talk about the other scholarships that we’ve received or some of the nonprofit activities that we’re involved in, our community service, showing our awards. When it comes to do’s and don’ts, do obviously project that positive image, talk about things that you’ve accomplished, your goals; do not mistake social media for a journal – it is not a diary, it is not a therapist. And so we have to be very aware that we not give away too much or the wrong information.

Courtney: And that’s the thing, is I feel like social media can be such a positive thing and to market yourself and brand yourself. But so many people view it as a negative thing. So how do we get that out of the older generation’s head, that it really is moving in a positive direction?

Washington: Well, I think what happens is, when we’re looking at some of the older generations, it’s natural to be fearful of something that you’re not completely understanding of, right? And so what we have to understand is that social media is a lot like money – it’s neutral. You hand a large amount of money to someone who maybe has some issues, they’re probably going to multiply those issues. You hand it to someone who had their stuff together and has a giving heart, they’re going to be a blessing to other people with it. Social media works much the same way. It is a neutral tool. So in terms of the value we get out of it, whether it produces something wonderful or something horrible, it’s what we do with that tool.

Courtney: And as far as generations, how does your message change when you’re talking to an older group versus a younger group of maybe high school students?

Washington: Well, it changes dramatically because perspective is different. And so with high school students I don’t tend to have to sell them on the merits of social media. Now it’s a matter of showing them one, how to take down the stuff they shouldn’t have put there in the first place probably and then showing them how to sell themselves and some of the benefits. When I’m talking to older people it’s really a matter of making them understand that they can take all this knowledge they’ve accumulated and their relationship building skills that they have already mastered in real life and apply this in an online format. So then their reach is even further, and it gives them more opportunities, and they can help a lot more people as well.

Courtney: And what would you say to maybe an older person who just does not want to get social media? How can that be beneficial to them? Because there’s a disconnect between the older generation and the younger generation that’s so connected. How can we bridge that gap?

Washington: Well, when it comes to older people who just say, “I do not want to use social media.” First off, I have to respect their perspective and ask them why. Now, if you’re retired, you’re 70 years old, you’re not in the workforce, you know, maybe you don’t need to use a lot of social media, although Facebook will help you keep up with some of your family members, right? But for those that are putting up this block -- many people in the workforce that are older, they put up a block because they’re fearful. And so it’s a matter of showing them how using social media can make them more competitive. We know that if there’s one job opening at a company and there’s five applicants, we’re gonna have at least four losers. That’s the only way to put it. In fact, we might have five if the CEO’s nephew needs job – they might all lose, you get that? And so showing them that using social media, they can start to build connections with those decision-makers ahead of time. If they have a company they can use social media to acquire clients and customers. So really what I have learned, especially when talking with boomers and even some traditionalists, so that’s the generation before them, is if you show them the practical applications – how it’s going to make them more efficient, effective or connected, then they open up.

Courtney: OK, and one last thing. I know you mentioned the statistics of how many people were getting jobs through connections made with social media.

Washington: Right.

Courtney: Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Washington: Certainly. So JobVite did a survey and what they found is they surveyed Americans to find, you know, if they found jobs through social media, and if so, what social networks helped them gain their place of employment. And what they found was that 8 million Americans found their jobs using Twitter, 10.2 million Americans found their current jobs using LinkedIn, and the one that kind of took everybody by surprise, 12 million Americans found their jobs using Facebook – so more through Facebook than LinkedIn. And what we can gain from that, or what we glean from this information is the fact that, one, Facebook is much larger than LinkedIn, No. 1 but also, Facebook is a little bit more about personal connections, and it can be for business, but when you’re connected to someone on Facebook, they’re called a friend – when you’re connected to them on LinkedIn, they’re called a connection. And so when you think about a job opening at your company say, “Oh, you know, I have a friend that might be a really good fit for this.” No one ever says, “I have a LinkedIn connection.” And so often times, again we talked about the neutrality of tools and how we use them – you can use Facebook strictly for business and connect almost like you would at a networking event with only business professionals. So our limits are only as far as our imagination will go and really our ability to focus on what our goals are and use social media according to our goals.

Courtney: So cool. And it’s free. I mean, that’s the major thing, is so many people pay for website design and pay for all this stuff, but social media is a free marketing tool for yourself.

Washington: It is free, but I like to tell people this, too, “It’s free, and it’s not free, because our time has value.” And so it becomes a little bit less than an asset when we become sucked in. So if you’re getting on these social networks, and you’re not setting goals, and you’re not using apps to kind of help set timers so that you get off at a certain time, they can become a time-suck. So there’s a limit. I’ll, let’s give our boomers some credit for this ‘cause some of them are on probably watching this right now like, “Yes, that’s what I’m saying.” But set a timer, spend as much time as you need to to accomplish your goals, and it can be an amazingly, valuable, free tool.

Courtney: And how important is it do you think to find that balance? Yes, we need to be on social media, I mean, for the most part, but having that balance of real connections and communication versus always being on your phone?

Washington: I think it’s extremely important to have balance. I probably stick out a little bit more from Gen Y’s and especially from techy people because I’m a big fan of – I love technology, I love social media, I love apps, extensions, all that stuff. But at least once a quarter, I take a technology-free day. And mine is probably extreme for most people. It’s no cell phone, it’s no radio, it’s no TV, no laptop, nothing that can suck in my attention, and I spend the day reading or at the beach or whatever else. And so I think that when we spend a little bit of time away from technology, it resets us so then when we get back on, we’re more strategic. And I also think balance is important because the people around us deserve our attention. They deserve what one of my mentors calls “delighted attention,” where you’re actually giving them all of your focus. You can’t do that if you’re hunting Pokemon while you’re talking to someone. You can only do one or the other. And so I would encourage people the next time that you’re sitting at a dinner table with your friends or family or restaurant or whatever, or even while you’re all waiting around for an event, put your phone away, spend some time talking to people. Technology, extremely important, but we have to have that balance.