Okay, now that you understand how to identify public writing and why it’s so important, it’s time to discuss different kinds of online public writing. Why should we blog? Why should we use social media?
The simple answer? Power. By controlling your identity and presence online, you get to control how others see you. Blogs and social media allow you to create a refined identity.
How does this work? Let’s start with blogging. Blogging “serve[s] as a platform for people to voice their ideas, thoughts, and feelings,” on different topics (Dekmezian 1). When you blog, you’re putting your ideas out there for others to read. The presentation and information you post help create your image.
So why does this matter? For scholars and professionals, blogging can help “to build knowledge of your work, to grow readership of useful articles and research reports, to build up citations, and to foster debate” across a variety of communities (Green). Interacting with others and creating content in an online space is an easy way to gain exposure since many people cannot access information that is behind paywalls.
Businesses can benefit from blogging as well. It can help “to expand their online presence, connect with potential customers, promote their brand in a positive conversation, and even generate online revenue” (Dekmezian 3). With technology changing at a fast rate, it’s important for businesses to keep up. Businesses need to expand beyond newspaper and t.v. ads if they want to increase their revenue.
Surely, blogging is considered more formal than social media. I know I’ve made my fair share of worthless statuses on Facebook in 2012. Who hasn’t?
But social networking sites, or SNS, can be critical in creating a public image. Different SNS have different ways of displaying content and have different target audiences.
For example, platforms like Instagram are oriented toward photo posts, while platforms like Twitter are more text oriented. There are obvious benefits for the personal use of social media, like connecting with friends and finding new interests. However, “it is crucial for individuals to be aware of not only what their social identities reveal about themselves but also how this information can be interpreted” by others, such as future employers (Branham and Farrar 2).
It is not uncommon for hiring committees to look into someone’s SNS history before hiring. In a lot of cases, things that are posted can be interpreted as poor communication or problematic because they are out of context. In this way, the power to control your image needs to be used wisely.
This past summer, I worked at Kennebunk Savings and became with other employees on Facebook. Recently, I saw that someone shared a post, dated September 12, 2017, which describes how an employee who had recently received a promotion was let go because of insensitive content found on her Facebook page. Actions on social media have real-life consequences because that online identity is part of your identity and reflects on you as a person.
No matter where you decide to post, “the act of public writing should be executed with thought and critical consideration” (Branham and Farrar 2). I’m sure we’ve all had experiences with social media gone wrong, which is why it’s so important to maintain the power it wields. Social Media sites and blogging platforms are tools used to display your own personal, or business’s, public image. Like any other kind of power, it’s best to use it wisely.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Branham, Cassandra; Farrar, Danielle. “Digital Footprints: Public Writing and Social Identities.” writingcommons.org, https://writingcommons.org/open-text/new-media/1272-digital-footprints-public-writing-and-social-identities, 2015. Accessed 20 September 2017.
Dekmezian, Gary. “Why Do People Blog? The Benefits of Blogging.” huffingtonpost.com, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-dekmezian/why-do-people-blog-the-be_b_8178624.html, 2016. Accessed 20 September 2017.
Green, Duncan. “An antidote to futility: Why academics (and students) should take blogging / social media seriously.” lse.ac.uk, http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2015/10/26/why-academics-and-students-should-take-blogging-social-media-seriously, 2015. Accessed 20 September 2017.