I truly believe there is no such thing as a social media expert and that’s not what I’m claiming to be. It is impossible to know the ins and outs of every single network, along with issues and implications of its impact on society.
What I do believe, is that as a PR student and practitioner I have a responsibility to share the knowledge I do have and help generate open conversations about ethical practice.
After taking a little break over the Easter period, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my reasons for starting this blog and why I continue to write.
During my undergraduate PR degree I started a blog to document my journey as a mature student and single parent. While I enjoyed writing, I mainly used my blog as a talking point in job interviews and to help boost my future career. Once I graduated I got caught up in working and caring for my family and it all fell by the wayside.
What I found while studying and working in PR is that most students and graduates have a blog, and most address the same issues. Many document common PR problems and the life and trials of being a student (getting organised, working to deadlines, changing your lifestyle, finding a job, etc). While it’s good to write about what you know, I wanted to address real problems in the industry, and help people to recognise some of the bigger issues.
That’s why I made the decision to focus my writing on challenging some of the underlying ethical issues associated with social media. It’s an area that caught my interest during my studies and something I personally feel needs to be addressed more in conversations about the future of the industry.
Social media has become so engrained in our everyday lives that it acts as an extension of our reality, yet is paradoxical. To some, content existing online is almost an alternate reality and they fail to see the real world implications of their actions on social platforms. This could be anything from cyberbullying, to dealing with other users negativity, or knowing what is ethically and socially acceptable behaviour.
While I didn’t have a particular target audience in mind, I knew that small businesses who manage their own social media, or PR executives who have fallen into the role of social media manager without training or the support of CPD, might lack the knowledge and experience to make informed decisions about their actions.
Having blogged about the ethics of social media for the last 6 months or so, what I’ve found is the posts that have the most views and interaction are those offering practical advice or ‘how to’ for organisations managing their own social media. To me, this demonstrates a need for more content and guidance for small businesses on which practices are acceptable online.