Social Media and Your Career

Social media is becoming a vital tool in almost all industries. In the film industry it is fast becoming a fundamental tool, that if used cleverly will have huge benefits for you. Social media is an instrument linking websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. What better way to get your work out there and to create a professional name for yourself in a competitive industry where you can interact with your audience and potential clients.

There are a number of different social media platforms that can be used. Using them all is futile and unmanageable. Pick half a dozen and use them properly. Below is a list of some of them and their uses:

  • Blab: Think of blab as a bit like Periscope or Meerkat who offer similar video sharing platforms. It allows you to broadcast your content to your followers and, better still, allows you to invite them into the video conversation thus creating a two-way dialogue.
  • Facebook: A widely used forum for social and business connections.
  • Google+: The clean, simple interface makes connecting with business associates easy. Google+ was the fastest-growing social network in history and looks as though it’s here for the foreseeable future.
  • Ning: This site connects groups of people who are passionate about particular interests, topics or hobbies. Co-Founded by Marc Andreessen, who helped launch Netscape. It can be great for connecting with others who are interested in your area of expertise.
  • Plaxo: Currently hosts address books for more than 40 million people. This allows people stay in touch with “Pulse,” which is a dashboard that lets you see what the people you know are sharing all over the web.
  • Twitter: A tool that is widely-adopted and used for everything from business to fun and games.
  • Bing: Bing, Google and Yahoo aren’t technically social media platforms, but they are tools that can be used to promote a product or service. The technique for using any search engine to promote your product or service effectively requires you to optimise your website so that the search engines see it. By doing so, you’ll drive traffic to your website from the people doing searches on specific topics.
  • Blogging Platforms: These are tools that are used to create blogs. Some of them, like Blogger, Tumblr, Vox or Xanga are straightforward platforms that are great for people who want to do a simple blog.  If you want to create a more powerful blog that adds a lot of SEO value for your website, you can investigate sites like Joomla, Drupal, Typepad or WordPress (which I have been using for the past few years already).
  • Howcast: A website where you watch “How To” videos on the topic of your choice? It’s an extremely worthy-competitor to YouTube but currently YouTube is still the default setting used by everyone.
  • Vimeo: A high-end YouTube for people interested in sharing their videos with a community of positive, encouraging creative professionals.
  • YouTube: Is one of the better-known platforms used to promote businesses. The key to YouTube is to keep the videos short and sweet. Make sure they solve the “what’s in it for me” equation. YouTube is perfect for “How To” videos. The only real problem is it’s a cluttered environment featuring a little of low quality rubbish.


Social Media Platforms that help you Share:

  • Buffer: This social media management tool allows you to schedule Tweets and Facebook updates quickly and easily from your web browser.
  • Delicious: This is a social bookmarking service owned by Yahoo. When someone tags your article, video or blog post with a Delicious bookmark, it’s the equivalent of a “vote.” The more votes you get, the more visibility your content has on the Delicious website.
  • HootSuite: This is a tool that allows you to manage multiple social media channels through one dashboard. If you have a company with more than one contributor to your social media program, HootSuite is a good solution.
  • Instagram: A surprisingly fun photography app.  Instagram is more popular than FaceBook in the UAE.
  • LocalVox: This is a social media dashboard that’s similar to HootSuite and TweetDeck.
  • Pinterest: We live in a visual world and Pinterest leverages that. Tired of reading long blog posts (like this one) but still enjoy skimming through images, then Pinterest is for you.
  • Reddit: Similar to Digg and Delicious. Reddit is a source for what’s new and popular on the web. Users can vote articles up or down on the site, so readers can check out the hot, trending topics from blogs, newspapers and other sources around the globe. The only issue would be you have to have a lot of traffic and a lot of votes to show up on the radar screen.
  • Scribd: This is the largest social publishing and reading site in the world. You simply upload your speech, ebook or PowerPoint presentation to the site. This is a great way to potentially get your content in front of thousands of readers.
  • SlideShare: One of the better-known places to upload your content for sharing with others.
  • StumbleUpon: Very similar to Digg, Delicious and Reddit. When you rate a website that you like using StumbleUpon, it’s automatically shared with like-minded people.
  • TweetDeck: Like HootSuite, TweetDeck provides a way to track many of your social media channels on one dashboard. It can be a time-saver and a productivity-enhancer.

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Can you survive professionally without a social media profile?
Among film and television people it appears to vary, especially for those already established. Many filmmakers I would like to follow are not on social media such as Twitter. I find this very frustrating, as I would love to learn from them and follow their creative process.

So the question raised from this week’s lecture (SAE Creative Industries (2015) for CIU111’s Social Media and Your Career) is “How do we use social media so it helps instead of hurts our professional identity?”

Our interaction on social media sites can be a number of things – illustrative, visual and social. I believe that whatever path I choose to take in the industry I am currently developing for myself, going the social media route is a must.

In the early stages, before I have even begun creating a career for myself, I need  to create a portfolio on the web to introduce my work to possible employers or clients. This means I need to be smart about what I put on the net.

I need to start going through my work and the social media sites I do have, looking at my user names and finding a consistent name for all my sites in order to create a common presence on the web. I also need to start going through my work and deciding what I believe is suitable to showcase and what best represents my skills and capabilities and how they have developed.

Doing this properly will draw people in and create an audience of interested people who wish to follow my work. Most importantly I need to consider what type of social networking is right for me. What I take away from this lecture is something that I realised a long time ago. In this industry it is important to have a strong social media presence and that it’s also a great way of networking with people in my industry.

These are my current social media links:
About Me: https://about.me/siobhonvdm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/siobhonvandermerwe/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/siobhonvdm
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/siobhonvdm/
WordPress: https://siobhonvdm.wordpress.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/siobhonvdm

About.me has the potential to be extremely powerful. It is a one page advertisement of you, where you can show and tell the world who you are, what you do and where you’re headed. Instead of giving people a business card with a dozen social media links, you point them to About.me.

Social media is a minefield to navigate in a social capacity, let alone a professional one. We can get so side tracked with what is happening out there that we can easily forget the professional function of why we were creating a social media platform for ourselves in the first place.

With the compliments and support comes the criticism and ugliness. It is something we will have to deal with. Creating more drama is not the solution.  Stay professional at all times and do not get dragged in by people who have nothing else to do. Constructive criticism and support should be embraced and encouraged and applied where necessary.

One needs to realise by putting your work (and yourself ) out there on the net, it will open one up to criticism and negativity for the sake of it. This can be avoided to a large part by just not engaging with those who like to go there.  One just needs to take the bad part that is out there with a pinch of salt. The internet was after all built as a platform to share knowledge. Use it to your advantage.

When still in High School I used to deactivate my Facebook account during the school term and then I would reactivate it doing the school holidays. I did this for a couple reasons:
1) I didn’t know how to deal with the ugliness that seemed to follow you from the playground home to your private space.
2) I was beginning to get a bit addicted to it and I would tend to obsess about who was commenting on my photographs and concentrate more on Facebook than my school work and my piano practice.

I found the social aspect of Facebook overwhelming and a drain and still do, but I have learned to take a more pragmatic approach to Facebook as a social platform now as I have matured. I now have my social Facebook page but I also have a professional page that I manage. The page that I manage is open and showcases videos I may do, my photography, and components of this course I publish on my WordPress blog. I plan to use this and develop other areas of social media as a way to connect with people in the film industry and networking.

Statista (2016) looks at global social media platforms and has produced the following data on the number of accounts people have on average:

 statistic_id381964_global-social-media-account-ownership-and-use-2014

I have to admit, I didn’t see Facebook as having such a big influence until viewing the next Statista (2016) graph.  Clearly as a marketing tool it definitely has merit.

I have attached a brief summary of the social media process  in the form of a MindMap below.

Social_Media
 statistic_id272014_global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users-2016

This graph alone has changed my ideas of using Facebook to market myself in my future and current career and business.

What do I want social media to do for me?:
I want it to showcase my work, and I want to network and discuss areas of interest in the industry I am involved in. Ultimately it is my hope that it will be an aid in generating a viewing platform for my work, which I hope will ultimately assist in gaining me freelance work or full time employment.

Can we avoid the hate?:
No, we can only control how we choose to engage with it. Constructive criticism we can turn to our advantage. The ugly “stuff” it is best to develop a thick skin and ignore it

References
1) http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/top-10-social-media-blogs-the-2016-winners/
2) http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2010/04/09/top-52-social-media-platforms/
3) https://medium.com/self-directed-practitioners/week-6-social-media-and-your-career-21ec52b2b003#.5bxdks35u

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