Weekly #12 – It’s Just a Tool

What have I learned this semester about social media?  Well, I learned a lot because I didn’t use social media much before taking this class.  I didn’t have a Facebook page, none of my friends are on Twitter (Metcalf’s law at it’s most basic) and I didn’t know anything about all the different free analytical tools available for measuring effectiveness of social media.  So for me, yes – exploring social media was definitely worth it, if just to understand the world that is out there.

I think I’ll still check out blogs in the future, since I’m embarking on a new adventure I will enjoy learning from the new parenting community out there.  Twitter, not sure if I’ll stay on that or not, since no one I know uses it.  I probably won’t keep up this blog, although it’s been a great experiment and has taught me that blogging takes way more time than I thought it did.

I’ve never been one for being totally social and for me, Hamlet’s Blackberry just kind of made sense.  Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the tools available, they are just tools.  We have the power to put them down and back away slowly, or run away screaming!  Distance and introspection are good things.

I always like to use the analogy of tools when I’m teaching media training classes to Soldiers.  I tell them that media relations is just one set of tools available in the toolbox; use it correctly, like a hammer, and you can build a house.  Use the hammer incorrectly, hit yourself on the thumb and it hurts like hell.

That kind of sums up what I think about the social media tools, it’s important to know they are there and how to use them, but be careful you don’t use them incorrectly.   Personally, I don’t want to get too involved in social media and lose the ability to just enjoy being unplugged.

When I read Hamlet’s Blackberry I thought about my iPhone and iPad.  I didn’t care about buying them, my husband thought they would be useful.  And they are, I use them a lot.  But I am seriously contemplating turning off the email alert ding that tells me I’ve got mail.  I feel like Pavlov’s dog whenever I hear the ding; I feel like I must run and see what it is.

Unfortunately it’s usually some spam mail offering me the deal of the day from a website I ordered one thing from two years ago.  Lately I’ve been making it a practice to unsubscribe from each of those annoying lists; I think I still have about 5 more to get deleted from.

The email ding cuts both ways though – I happened to look at my email right after Georgetown PR&CC sent out the weekly email and found out there was a new class added for spring semester.  I had been signed up for a class that I wasn’t too thrilled about taking, but it fit in my time slot and met my goal of only taking one class a day so I would have to worry about being away from the baby for too long (I have no desire to pump in a bathroom…).

Anyway, thanks to checking the email right after the ding I was able to drop the class I didn’t want and get into the new offering which I am much more excited about taking.  So, technology is a double-edged sword!  But like any good sword, it should be finely balanced and that’s our challenge – don’t get too involved and lose sight of what really matters most.  Keep the balance – I’ll let you decide for yourself what that is.

photo flickr.com by tiffa 130 used under Creative Commons license

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