The Web: Navigating through Social Media

26 Nov


In eleven weeks time, I have gained new perspectives on the uses of social media and expanded my own thoughts on the potential and opportunity that exist in using new platforms of communication. From my own Twitter account, I have made larger inferences about societal needs and peoples’ reasons for engaging in online outlets. I have also seen Facebook as a place for misuse and a place that brings strong connectivity. Lastly, in identifying the transitional process of journalism, I have come to realize the broader impact social media has brought to my future. But in eleven weeks time, the greatest knowledge I have gained is in realizing that my social media adventure has just begun.

I originally embarked on a journey that would allow me to share my experiences as I navigated through unknown territory of social media. I have come to realize that my journey is a never-ending process of engaging and learning. New mediums are constantly surfacing that bring more users and interaction than ever before. As MySpace became a fleeting memory, so to will other online entities rise and fall in popularity. With that being said, my social media interaction cannot be cut into a segment of time, but is rather a continuous cycle of development.

At the end of the original time allotted, I decided not to create a Facebook account for more reasons than one. The main source of my reasoning stems from not needing a Facebook to feel involved or in included. I simply do not feel drawn to Facebook for pictures or personal updates in the way others do. However, those are current thoughts, which are subject to change as I continue my social media adventure. Beyond the personal realm, I have come to realize that many individuals engage in Twitter and Facebook for professional reasons.

Samantha Bush, the Mobile and Social producer for the Arizona Republic, uses Twitter, Facebook,, Google+ and Instagram to promote content and monitor for breaking news.

“To know social media is to be fast and to care about what’s happening now, not what’s going to happen or what has happened. It’s all about the present,” Bush said.

But Bush did not always support combining social media and journalism.

“I wasn’t sold on it when it came to promoting news,” Bush said.

Today, news comes to people through Twitter and push alerts and Bush acknowledges social media’s ability to share news.

“It’s not that people need to be told to read the story, it’s that people need to be told where to find the story,” Bush said.

In a recent meeting at the Arizona Republic, Bush explained that staff members discussed the fast-pace nature of social media.

The majority of young kids are on Instagram because their parents are on Facebook, Bush said.

“Facebook is out, Instagram is in,” Bush said.

People use social media in different ways, but the point is not to lose communication, Bush said.

“For me, Twitter is not so much that you lose interaction, it’s that you’re having all these conversations that you never would have had the chance to have in the first place,” Bush said.

But Bush does not enjoy all aspects of using social media in her profession.

“What I hate about my job when it comes to social media is that there are certain things that I just know are going to be crazy popular online that I think are just useless to the public conversation,” Bush said.

Driving page views and getting “likes” on Facebook is part of Bush’s job.

A recent story on Harvey, a show buffalo in Cave Creek who climbs a trailer roof, is not the hard news story Bush would like to share.

“A million other things happened today that are much more important. The function of journalism is to inform the electorate, and we’re not doing that, we’re talking about buffalos,” Bush said.

Bush said she Tweets about business news, politics, sports and the fluff stories equally.

“But what gets the interaction? It’s the fluff stories,” Bush said.

For Tauhid Chappell, the Social Media Producer for 12 News, audience interaction is important.

Social media allows reporters and anchors to connect with their viewers and promote their work, Chappell said.

And for aspiring journalists, having social media experience is critical.

“It shows that you are testing and adapting to new platforms and new products that people are using,” Chappell said. “It’s definitely important to be apart of that conversation, otherwise you’re just missing out on what everybody else in talking about.”


As I continue my education and enter the professional world, it is clear that social media is important for audience interaction, news sharing and self-promoting. While the web of social media continues to grow, I must find my place between the tangles of professional and social uses of online interaction. In my social media adventure, I have had the opportunity to discuss, share and learn from those who use numerous online outlets each day. But throughout my endeavor, one theme remains the same—the ways in which social media is used determine its potential for both misuse and its capability to act as a powerful tool of global unification. I am excited not only for my own path, but for the direction of interaction and future communication.


From Printing Press to Mobile Media: A Journalistic Perspective on the Technological Revolution

7 Nov


Social media has changed methods of communication, techniques of marketing and approaches to business decisions. And that’s only to name a few. For better or for worse, it has impacted career fields and job markets, and none more so than journalism. Indeed, the capacity to which social media has impacted journalism seems unimaginable. It has taken its toll on the ways news is gathered, dispersed, received and shared. Of course, this has resulting implications on those who make a career out of journalism. And I suppose that’s where I am. At the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, I am a sophomore student learning how to become a journalist with values and ethics. Of course, there are tips for how journalists can use social media effectively. But how has social media impacted those values that characterize my school’s namesake?

Are accuracy, responsibility, objectivity and integrity currently upheld in today’s digital journalism?

Those were some of the questions addressed in a recent interview with retired Cronkite professor Donald G. Godfrey.

Donald G. Godfrey has had an extensive journalism career as a longtime broadcaster in commercial radio and television. He is a historian and author of “Methods of Historical Analysis in Electronic Media,” among several others.

History shows that journalism has constantly been evolving, and technology and social media have played a big role in its transformation.

“I think that we’re losing our old-fashioned journalism standards,” Godfrey said. “I don’t see them in practice today very much at all.”

Godfrey said that the overall ratings of news have decreased.

“We’re not as believable as we used to be,” Godfrey said.

Godfrey explained that the fundamental principles of good journalism were in practice until the late 70s or 80s, when the news people needed transitioned to the news people wanted.

The transition between need and want, Godfrey said, came with the discovery that a news program, be it local or national, could actually be a profitable one.

“We always know what we want, but we don’t always know what we need,” Godfrey said.

And the news we want is faster and more available than ever before.

“Industry, not just ours, but industry in general, has always been technologically driven.  Even back in history, you can point to different inventions and things that redirected the way business practices were made,” Godfrey said.

Today’s modern technology is not only redirecting journalism, its redefining it.

“Now, with everybody that has a cell phone that can take pictures and video, they think they’re journalists. So, does that make it so? It certainly makes our opportunity to gather bits of information from a much broader base, but does it give us any depth into anything?” Godfrey asked.

Those are some of the few questions that have been left unanswered.

Godfrey said that journalism should function as an important part of democracy, but he questioned whether or not we provide in-depth information before an election or cover politics in a way that creates discussion.

IMG_0869And the role of social media can also play a large part in gathering news.

“Do we heighten the conflict, or do we try to provide information to resolve the conflict?” Godfrey asked.

While social media can be positive in broadening our ability to gather information, it must also be evaluated for accuracy and truth.

“We seem to accept the information no matter where it comes from,” Godfrey said.

At a recent luncheon, Bob Schieffer from CBS News was awarded the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Throughout his speech, he described the many ways social media has impacted the role of journalism.

While recent technology has made news widely available, Schieffer clarified that access to information does not equate wisdom.

Schieffer said that we can get news from all points of view, meaning that we are no longer basing our opinions off of the same data.

While social media has redefined our industry, Schieffer said that journalism is only changing, not dying.

“Journalism is not about scratching the surface,” Schieffer said. “It’s about going beneath the surface and finding the truth.”

It is more necessary and needed than ever, Schieffer said.

It is clear that social media has impacted journalism in more ways than one. And while we may not be able to reinstall the days of the printing press, we can continue to uphold the journalistic values of the time. New innovations in technology will always cause journalism to change, but the fundamental principles should remain a constant. While progressing with new mediums of sharing news is important, we must remember to live up to the standards that made Walter Cronkite the most trusted man in America.

Facebook-The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

31 Oct


I haven’t been able to pinpoint my current hesitancy towards not creating a Facebook account. I stare at the “sign up” button and begin the thought process of how a Facebook would impact my life. Would I be hooked? Will I be overwhelmed with information? Could my entire personal life become public? These questions and more begin to consume my thoughts, and soon, I am once again closing the Internet to wait for another day.

That day may never come for Hannah Gibson, an Arizona State University junior who has never had a Facebook.

“I don’t see the point in being able to watch what people are doing when you’re not even really friends with them in real life,” Gibson said.

While she has decided to keep her distance from engaging in Facebook, others seem to get too close.

“More people I know just use Facebook to stalk people and see what they can find out, ” she said. Gibson said that Facebook gives out information about what people are doing, who is pregnant or who is married.

And it’s the personal information that can make an interactive social media sight into a dangerous tool.

Gibson has seen the problems of Facebook with fake users creating false profiles.

“It’s creepy what people can do, because you don’t actually know,” she said. “It’s scary.”

And the scary parts of Facebook don’t end there. Each year, adolescent suicides result from cyberbullying, and statistics show that more than half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online.

Lisa Tsosie, an Arizona State University junior, knows the dangers of cyberbullying and has spent her time trying to identify it.

Beginning as a sophomore, Tsosie was approached by a professor with the idea of assisting in creating a program that would use insulting content and vulnerability to detect instances of cyberbullyling.

“You can’t prevent it, but you can identify it early enough so it doesn’t get so severe,” Tsosie said.

And identifying cyberbullying is the first step towards eliminating it.

Once completed, the program will become an application for Facebook users to download where it can begin gaining information to detect the presence of cyberbullying.

Tsosie said that if the program detects cyberbullying based on definitions, words and phrases, it will send an email to the parent or guardian, making them aware.

“It gives parents the opportunity to prevent it,” she said.

While a recent poll shows that more cyberbullying victims are reaching out to their parents, Tsosie said that many teens are afraid to confront the issue.

The power factor is a big reason for the existence of cyberbullying, she said. Hiding behind Facebook messages and posts can give an online bully control and leverage.

“You don’t have to be yourself online,” Tsosie said.

Tsosie advises that Facebook users be cautious about accepting friends and mindful about the ways they are presenting themselves online.

Downloading the application once it is available will also be an important step. For now, Tsosie is grateful for the positive attention the anti-cyberbullying program is receiving. She hopes that it will increase the amount of people working on the project.

As I learn more about Facebook, I am beginning to gain a broader understanding of its implications. The good—It is a great way to connect with people. The Bad—It lends itself to false information and exposure. The ugly—It can be a pool of insults and hurtful messages.

Related Ads Featuring Lisa Tsosie:

The State Press


Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated that the name of the program was originally called Facebully until copyright infringement. No official name has been decided on for the application because it was discovered beforehand that “face” is patented by Facebook.

Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, Oh My! ~Becoming the Wizard of Social Media~

22 Oct

In an attempt to understand the attachment to social media, I decided to gain different perspectives on the far-reaching topic. It seems as though everyone has his or her personal reasons for spending time online, but many debate whether that time is well spent. The pros and cons of engaging in social media have been debated and researched—yet, no precise conclusions have been made. A CNN article shows the discussion of both sides for kids and social networking.

The use of social media does not follow one yellow brick road, but instead diverges with how each individual decides to use it.

A Sociologist’s Perspective:


David Williams has been a professor of sociology for thirty-five years, and in that time he has seen the evolution of a lot of things.

“Things have changed a great deal.” Williams said. “What hasn’t changed is people’s interest in communicating with other people. The question is the means.”

Indeed, the methods of communicating are constantly developing, and Williams referenced a time when the telephone was the most significant invention.

But things have changed since then. “They’ll communicate to the world on Facebook without communicating to a single person,” he said.

“What does that mean?” Williams asked out loud.  He said it signifies that more people are interested in broadcasting, not communicating.

“Communicating is a two way street. But today, its not communication anymore, its just broadcasting.”

Williams says he has noticed the drawbacks of social media as a professor. Students no longer write as well as they used to and it may affect their capability for face-to-face interaction, he said.

“We all want to talk to people. So what we do in lieu of that, we go on Facebook and broadcast and we trick ourselves into thinking that we’re talking to people.”

Many make an assumption that social media friends are interested and invested, but Williams believes describing followers as friends is a false concept.

“We have very few friends in this world,” he said.

Williams has had his own Facebook account for about two years, but feels it is a very sterile environment that is in a way very non-social.

A Mother’s Watchful Eye:

mrs brady

(Picture Courtesy of the Brady Family)

Lee Brady not only understands her children’s use of social media, she embraces it.

As a mother of three, Brady said she is actually more of a social media addict than some of her kids.

“Nobody in my family is ever more than about eight inches from a telephone.”

Brady takes advantage of using social media for work, but even more, she allows it to be a parenting tool.

When her youngest daughter Jenna wanted a Facebook, Brady’s only rule was that she must be a “friend” on the account.

“I told them if they ever unfriend me, they were done.”

Social media gives Brady a good sense of what her kids are doing, and as a family they use Snapchat about ten times a day.

However, Brady does wish that when together they would actually talk instead of texting.

“We’ll be sitting side by side on the couch and sending each other messages on the phone instead of turning around and having a conversation.”

Brady will continue using social media to stay updated on her children and their activities. “It’s a form of parental stocking,” she said.

A Freshman’s Way to Connect:


Robert Valentine, a current freshman at Arizona State University, has used social media to adapt to both the academic and social life of college.

Valentine immediately signed up for Facebook pages on ASU accounts to begin learning about activities around campus.

“It makes it easier to get involved because you know what’s going on and when it’s happening,” he said.

From posting questions on teachers when signing up for classes to getting a notification for an upcoming event, Valentine feels he has had no drawbacks of social media this year.

“It is one of the most useful things that has happened since touring ASU,” he said.

Valentine recommends prospective students begin using the ASU Facebook pages for important information and giveaways before arriving on campus.

            In a tornado of the multiple perspectives on social media, one thing seems true—there is no right or wrong answer. Each social media user has with them a unique story with their own opinions and beliefs. I agree with Professor Williams’ point that we all want someone to talk to, and there are multiple ways people do so. Social media is a venue used in numerous capacities and its reach is widespread. A sociologist, a parent and a college freshman are only three perspectives out of the millions that exist. Learning about differing beliefs and standpoints allow my own interpretations of social media to expand. Until I find my own home in social media, I will continue tapping my red slippers—and I really am from Kansas.

A Check-In of My Social Media Adventure

4 Oct

With ten Twitter followers, I am slowly gaining an understanding of social media. Along the way, I am drawing greater inferences on a greater scale based on my own experiences. Below, I give an update and my plans for the future.

The Selfie

1 Oct


My recent dive into social media has produced some interesting results to say the least. Within days of opening a Twitter account, I received a message notifying me of my first follower, Venezias Pizzeria. My initial reaction was how did they find me. But soon, a wave of emotion unlike any other came over me. Venezias Pizzeria cares about my thoughts, my opinion and my input. I felt more than excitement—I felt power. If Venezias Pizzeria could elicit this response, it had me questioning, how do people feel with over 300 proclaimed friends on Facebook or hundreds of Twitter followers?

 A New York Times article recently addressed a study that found young people to be more selfish and narcissistic than previous generations. Perhaps social media has been a part of creating a generation that focuses on inner satisfaction. And new technology continues to support “me” centered behavior. I have been told that receiving a Facebook “Like” on a picture or a status update brings with it rewards of self-confidence. In discussing the use of social media with peers, a common theme seems to be a love of pictures, comments and some game called Candy Crush. According to Alba Barajas, a freshman at Arizona State University, “Facebook is universal, it’s everywhere.” And once you have a Facebook, it is hard to escape it. People feel a constant need to stay connected and updated, but is it all self-serving?

I am not attempting to provide psychological answers to the consequences of social media users, but I am making larger inferences based on my own experiences. At this point in my social media journey, my ten twitter followers have served me with a great purpose—they provide me with a feeling of importance. I can only imagine the emotional response a Facebook would bring. Perhaps that will be in my near future. Of course, I will have to take a selfie first.

Social Media: Millions of Users, One Man’s Perspective

24 Sep

This slideshow is an interview with Arizona State University Professor Jaime Aguila. Professor Aguila discusses his personal use of social media as well as his perspective on its pros and cons for current college student. As a historian and a professor on immigration and ethnicity, he gives a unique view on the impact it has had on immigration. It is interesting to understand social media as a tool for social movements and change. Being new to social media, I think Professor Aguila makes an interesting point about the potential for misusing it and gaining inaccurate information. Not included in the slideshow was Professor Aguila’s personal belief that music is one area that has been limited by today’s digital technology. He described the influence of music’s album art and the interaction and culture it provided that is now limited by digital music. Overall, I learned about the opportunities social media can provide individuals and groups of people when used as a positive tool.



Thanks to Professor Aguila. Your time was greatly appreciated.