Social Media Questions

My son interviewed me on social media for a college course he is taking. The main topic the class is discussing is “digital dualism” – what is social media, what is “real life,” and how do they intertwine? He was required to interview someone who knows about social media, and I was pleased as punch that he picked his mom.

Social Media Questions

Here are the questions he sent to me. Feel free to answer any you want in the comments. I’ll give my answers at the bottom (I wasn’t required to answer all the questions, and I was allowed to pick from these).

1) Is the idea of digital dualism a modern phenomenon or something that has previously existed, but only just entered the public focus?
2) What exactly is social media?
3) What is the appeal behind social media that has made it so popular?
4) How has social media changed interpersonal relationships?
5) Is there an overreliance in modern society on digital interaction as opposed to physical communication?
6) Is it important for people to stay connected to social media professionally?
7) How have businesses and politicians attempted to use social media to promote their products and ideas?
8) To what extent has social media helped to shape world changing events such as Arab Spring?
9) What, if anything, is the difference between “digital life” and “real life?”
10) How will interactions involving social media evolve in the future?

Social Media: Leora’s Answers

What is social media? One often thinks of Twitter or Facebook when thinking of social media – really, it can be any online place where people interact. So that can mean blogging (where one has the possibility of leaving comments and sharing posts), YouTube (likewise, anyone can put up a video and others can comment or share), Google chat or hangouts (my ten-year-old daughter is fast becoming an expert at those) or online forums.

birthday mom celebratesMom and me: My mom could have used the benefits of social media

How has social media changed interpersonal relationships? Motherhood, to give one profound example, has changed greatly as a result of social media. In my mother’s day, if she wanted to share with other moms, she needed to go out of the home and find a place where there were other moms. If she wanted stimulation beyond talking about mommyhood, she needed to find someone to watch her children in order to go to a job, attend a class or learn more about any subject. With the web and social media, there are vast opportunities to learn online or to work online. It’s easier to balance those opportunities with one’s children’s schedule, so it’s easier to do work or learning from home.

One doesn’t even have to go back to the 1970’s to see the differences; when my sons were little in the 1990’s, there was no Facebook or Twitter (although there were online social groups, but one had to know about them and have computer access, still a rarity at that point). Compare that to the vast amount available nowadays.

Is it important for people to stay connected to social media professionally? If one does not learn how to make use of social media, there are many lost opportunities. One can learn about a new career or about opportunities within a current profession. One can make contact with people in many different countries, cultures, and outlooks. If someone has tried it and it hasn’t worked, it may be a case of need to improve social skills or needing a better sense of direction. Social media activity is not going to answer all one’s issues professionally, but it can certainly serve an important role in networking and improved professional knowledge.

Social Media: Your Turn to Answer the Questions

So, now it’s your turn. Pick a question or two from above and let us know what you think.

23 Responses to “Social Media Questions”

  1. Susan Cooper says:

    That is really cool that your son asked you to be part of his class assignment. He couldn’t have chosen a better person. I wouldn’t know where to begin answering these questions. What SM has done is change the landscape of how we interact. In some cases it has opened up new opportunities for us. In some cases it has taken away the opportunity (or need) of a face to face interaction. I have loved getting to know others in faraway places. I long for the opportunity to actually meet. :)

    • Leora Wenger says:

      ” In some cases it has taken away the opportunity (or need) of a face to face interaction.” – in my case, it has greatly increased the ability for face to face interactions. I can post something online, and a few hours later someone appears at my door (I’ve been given items away for free, and it has been a wonderful opportunity to meet new people or re-connect with those I already know).

      There may be some that hide behind a screen, but most (all?) I know that do that would hide anyway.

      Thanks for the nice compliments, Susan.

  2. Catarina says:

    Agree with Susan that it’s great your son asked you to be part of his class assignment. From what I remember parents were not our first option:-)

    Here are some of my answers:

    1. Digital dualism has not existed earlier in the history of man due to the fact that the internet didn’t exist – so it wasn’t possible.

    2. On social media people communicate and it’s mainly about exchanging ideas, network and promote whatever you do or yourself – this answer applies to No. 7 as well.

    8. Social media enabled the revolt in Egypt because of Facebook and Twitter. However, looking at the outcome I am certain the young people who revolted wish they had not had social media. What they got is even worse than the regime they got rid of.

    9. Thankfully there is a huge difference between real life and digital life. You can for instance not hug anyone online. And some of the people online don’t exist. And there are also some people who pretend to be what they are not. In real life it’s much more difficult to pretend to be someone else

    • Leora Wenger says:

      My son responded that perhaps phone vs. in person could be an example of digital dualism of the past.

      On 8. and Egypt – similar happened in Iran, though without the social media.

      9. It’s a good thing we have both, no?

      Thanks, Catarina, for your thoughtful comments.

  3. Bindhurani says:

    I agree with Catarin about the difference between real life and digital life. The social media lets us connected faster than ever.
    Businesses can market their products, but the consumers can make a big difference in giving reviews to the products they purchase. That makes the statement consumer is the king more important. A bad step in customer care can be a big blow to the bottom line of the company.

  4. 1. The idea of digital dualism is really a misnomer. For as long as we have had ways to communicate, we have existed within a duality. Mark Twain is popping into my mind right now. Would his words have sounded the same if he had written under the name Sam Clemens?

    Maybe it is just in telling of the stories. Picture a time when there was no written word. History was recorded verbally from one story teller to another. In the sharing of the stories they became so much more than a member of the tribe, they became the tribes history.

  5. Dan Meyers says:

    Wow, very interesting post and comments. I’ll take a shot at #10

    10) How will interactions involving social media evolve in the future?

    Ok, this isn’t easy to answer! With Facebook, the trend was to share more personal information, but that has changed as circles got too big and when kids were friended by their parents. Now, the “kids” have moved to Twitter to escape their parents and the weirdos who can find them on Facebook.

    What does this mean for the future? I think everyone still likes the ability to share instantly – including pics, videos, and thoughts. However, I think the platforms and circles will continue to evolve. I think the amount of information shared will ebb and flow depending on platform. This is tough, I’ll have to continue thinking about this!

  6. Jeri says:

    First of all, kudos to your son for coming up with such great questions! I suppose I find #9 the most intriguing. Practically anything done in real life can be done online, even hugs ;) But to properly answer that question would be a series of blog posts in and of itself.

  7. Lubna says:

    Hi
    Some lovely, insightful questions here.
    I agree with Jon’s comment, telling stories, communicating has existed since men lived in the caves and drew on the wall with crude implements or communicated with each other through sounds and signs. The mode has changed.
    In fact, I have been pondering over one of the questions that has been asked for quite some time. Yes, there is less face to face interaction today – I email my friend to inquire about her, or chat with her online, instead of calling her or meeting her. So there is definately an over reliance on the digital medium.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      Lubna, that’s too bad, about less face to face interaction for you. I haven’t found that for myself – I seem to have more opportunities to connect in both ways.

      I also like the telling stories as an alternate mode of communicating, a pre-blog method.

  8. Susan Oakes says:

    As the others have said it is very cool that your son interviewed you Leora. I think that social media has opened up the opportunity to communicate with others that was not possible, like me from Australia leaving a comment for you in America, via our connection in LinkedIn.

    Many take the relationship offline and as in real life some relationships are fleeting relationships at best.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      A friend was helping me yesterday – we agreed that even though we know each other outside Facebook, if we both weren’t active on Facebook, the relationship would not have progressed to meeting in person. I do value her friendship! Good example of what you describe, Susan.

  9. I think your answers were great. To me social media is so simple. It’s interacting with people the same as you would if you were at a networking event- genuine and sincere. And if you use it for marketing it’s the same as normal marketing just with more tools. I love social media.

  10. Becc says:

    It is interesting how it makes it so much easier to catch up with people when you have been updated on Facebook. I was never going to go on there until I decided to create my blog. Now I am really happy I did.
    Great questions from your son!

  11. A.K.Andrew says:

    Fantastic your son involved you in this project – how apropos. I think social media has definitely become part of our ‘real’ lives now, and allows us to interact with people all over the world. Although a degree of the interaction can be superficial, certainly it can also be significant, both in information exchanged and the intent behind it. I feel that some people I have met online have become friends, though it is not the same as people I have met in person.Great questions your son asked – sorry I couldn’t get to more answers.

    • Leora Wenger says:

      And some interactions in person can be superficial as well, no? I am also glad my son included me. I am so proud of him. Glad he sees me as someone capable in ways other than being mom.

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