My father recently told me a story about a woman he met who started her own business not too long ago but has been so busy that she is already looking to expand her staff to keep up with the demand.
He works in a relativity small town so I imagined the business would be something along the lines of a bakery or personal accounting consultant. But he informed that she started a local social media business where she helps small businesses launch their social media pages to create a following and increase business.
And as simple of a concept it is, it's almost a necessity for any business to withhold some type of social media presence in order to not only gain clients but remain relevant. Isn't that kind of... crazy?
Social media isn't simply a place where you post your political opinions and bathroom selfies, it's a skill required in order to keep up with the current business, marketing, and public relations game.
If you do a quick Google search about social media and psychology, it won't take you more than two seconds to find an article with a new research study about the negative effects social media has on our society.
I personally can't stand being on Instagram for too long.
It's so easy to fall deep into a hole of insecurity and lose a sense of yourself when you're being indulged in a virtual world. I have had many friends personally ditch the social media game altogether because they felt it was negatively affecting their mental health, but I can't quite pull the trigger.
Is it because I have this need to stay connected with my friends through their social feeds? Is it because I want to blast my personal thoughts and opinions for people to see?
It's because a more than general understanding of social media is more than employable in a hungry and competitive job market and I don't know if I can afford to lose that skill.
I have recently been looking into post-graduation college jobs after finding out I will be graduating earlier than I originally planned and for many "recent graduate" or "entry level" jobs -- they're looking for more than a degree. Along with your professor approved resume and four years of education, many jobs are seeking people who are well equipped in the digital age. And for good reason. You can't turn a blind eye to the effectiveness of social media advertisements, audience engagement, and branding.
In my college jobs, I have been offered numerous "social media trainings" for marketing or branding purposes and I was never interested. I didn't see the appeal of a social media career but I usually buckled up and went anyways. I am fortunate enough to have had the training about audience engagements, beating algorithms and all the other juicy stuff.
Is it interesting? Sure. Am I glad I learned it? Of course. Does it work? Absolutely. Is that a good thing? For the business side of things, yes.
Yet, what about the people who are looking at this from a personal level compared to a professional?
There are some people who really love social media and I am not discrediting the aspects of social media that are positive. The harsh truth is that social media as a whole is a dangerous mental game that we put so much identify into that we can forget who we are without it. We label each other based on social media profiles, picture filter themes and the type of material they decide to put out there.
And you can't simply take it all away and shrug your shoulders anymore.
Because telling me to get off social media completely and resort back to a less connected age for the sake of mental health, is now setting me back to career opportunities I would like to have a shot at.