Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Doing it for the likes?

Published:Monday | July 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMKimberly Goodall

Social media has easily become a public hotspot and a platform for business and personal fulfilment. Whereas Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social networks are an essential part of online lives, they seem to also be the creators of social media stars and celebrities.

Admittedly, social networks are a great approach to stay connected with others and provide moments of inspiration and companionship, but the recent overuse of these platforms by the 'Internet stars' to attract likes through the disclosure of their personal information is dangerous.

Chief Executive Officer of EduFocal Limited Gordon Swaby shares that while he thinks individuals overuse these platforms, he thinks that generation gaps play a major role in oversharing, for example, sharing what you had for lunch.

"There are some things that are clear no-nos. Always sharing your whereabouts on social media, whether you're young or old, is not something you should do. Whether it's right or wrong, what we post will influence how we are viewed by others. We have control over what we post so we should all be mindful about what we post on social media as it can act as an enabler or disabler, whether personally or professionally," Swaby expressed.

 

TYPES OF USERS

 

When it comes to social media, there are all sorts of users. There are the old hands, who have been around since hi5 started and have a good understanding of the acceptable ways to navigate all the relevant platforms. There are the newbies, who will tag you in family photos and leave comments like "Hey Lisa, tried calling your mom the other day, how is the family?" There are the lurkers, who are online all the time to see what people are doing but don't post much. And then there are the people who live and breathe social media, to the point where a meal can't be eaten or a gym workout completed without the whole world knowing.

This can be annoying on a personal level, it can be harmful for businesses and personal brands as followers lose interest in the constant updates.

According to Dr Marcia Forbes, co-founder and co-owner of Phase Three Productions Limited and author of STREAMING: Social Media, Mobile Lifestyles, "So much has changed over the past decade since social media began to embed deep roots into what has become our very mobile lifestyles. The combination/convergence of mobile devices (cell phones, tablets etc.) and social media platforms has forever changed our world."

Even before her book, Forbes had started to see and hear Jamaicans concerning some of the challenges of privacy, security, and online bullying. Her book highlights 'Facebook Faceoffs by Females', as well as how boys use the network to flirt. As noted, "For many poor boys, therefore, Facebook is not a distraction ... . They use it to 'show and tell' their way into financial support, aided by webcams to display their strongest assets - their bodies."

Through her research, Forbes believes that only material that you don't mind going public, even viral and use to create memes should be posted on social media sites.

"The ways in which social media postings have come back to hurt and haunt people should make sensitivity in posts self-evident to all," she told Flair.