“30 Days” Book Review Outline

I. Thesis: In her book, 30 days to Social Media Success, marketing expert Gail Z. Martin discusses how to achieve social media success in an extremely basic way that is targeted to an older generation who did grow up with the Internet as an integral part of life and business; her lack of detail and use of generalizations weaken what could have potentially been a more useful book for a larger scope of people.

II. Summary of book’s content and format 

  •  Goal to “rethink, reenergize, and restart social media marketing”
  • R.E.S.U.L.T.S.
  • Ch. 1-7: Ensuring marketing strategy aligns with business goals
  • Ch. 8-21: How to use social media to promote businesses
  • Ch. 22-30: Ties together business goals and social media strategy
  • Discussion of intended audience

III. Strengths: How the book reflects popular social media discourse and course concepts

  • Martin highlights the domestication discourse (Baym)
  • Idea of a real story and a “true voice” – addresses inauthenticity  (Baym)
  • Using social media for business purposes calls attention to Beers’ critique of boyd and Ellison – economic components, critique of capitalism, etc.

IV. Weaknesses: How the text contradicts or ignores course concepts

  • Discrepancies about what qualifies as social media (boyd & Ellison, Donath) and what it is used for (“On Facebook, it’s ok to talk to strangers…” vs. Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe)
  • Assumes all consumers and businesses will engage in media multiplexity (Haythornthwaite)
  • Does not address different types of ties and social capital each site fosters (Baym; Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe)
  • Does not encourage participant observation of different social media profiles before diving in to use the sites for business purposes (Nardi)
  • Approaches social media marketing with somewhat of a slacktivist attitude (Kendzior)

V. Conclusion/Final Opinions

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Draft: 30 Days to Social Media Success

Main points in the book:

  • Author Gail Martin takes a domestication approach (with a marketing angle)when it comes to social media. equating it to being a cost-efficient advertisement platform
  • “RESULTS” acronym signifying “Recommit, Expect success, Seek partners, Understand your audience, Look for win-win scenarios, Take strategic action, Stay visible”
  •  Social Networking Sites=power, how to “harness” that power
  • Don’t let SNS use you, take advantage of it for results
  • Reconnect with old colleagues, friends, clients to expand reach
  • Meet other possible clients and partners online
  • Don’t be a social media pariah, or “orphan” as Martin puts it
  • Allow your company to come across as more of a personality, and less of a brand
  • Make personal connections with those online (goes back to being a “person” online and convincing authenticity)
  • Invest time in social media, allocate at least 30 minutes a day
  • Those you choose to retweet or befriend is more telling about you than them
Big picture:  Marketing guidelines and tips presented in Martin’s book could relate back to one’s everyday social usage of their social media too. The same way that a company tries to sell you a product through SNS is the same way you try to sell (or I guess “convince”) others your identity.

Criticism of the claims:

  • Hiring one social media guru is not enough to maintain all of the SNS Martin proposes
  • Martin seems to paint over her points with broad strokes without even giving concrete examples or advise. i.e. Martin advises to add 30 people/followers a day on Facebook and Twitter. How will a small unrecognizable company garner followers and friends if you and I usually do not befriend/follow names we don’t know?
  • 30 Days for results, but what about after the 30 days? How do you sustain the “success” after the 30 days? Author fails to address.
  • Author does not define what “success” in social media means. On one hand she says don’t reach too high if you’re a small company, but in the later chapters she pushes you to take your social media to global scale
  • Author approaches each social media site with the same methods, but LinkedIn should be handled much differently than, say, YouTube
  • Digg is kind of, a little, really, super outdated

30 Days To….

Author, speaker and entrepreneur Gail Martin delivers a well-rounded strategy for small businesses to understand and succeed in today’s social media landscape in her book 30 Days to Social Media Success. Divided into thirty short “bite-sized” sections, Martin is determined to help her reader “rethink, reenergize, and restart” their social media marketing endeavors. Her RESULTS approach (recommit to marketing, expect success, seek partners, understand your audience, look for win-win scenarios, take strategic action, stay visible) drives this how-to book, highlighting that only YOU can be your most valued resource. Martin helps you focus your business goals, understand the anatomy of social media sites, and debunk social media myths – all in an effort to showcase the beneficial technological affordances.

 

Although the book is targeted at the small business owner or solo professional, anybody who is interested in gaining social capital from the popular sites (Facbeook, Twitter, LinkedIn), can benefit from her rather basic strategies. For those who are versed in the ins-and-outs of social media, her language and ideas may seem oversimplified and novice. But she isn’t talking to them. Her readers are small, busy business owners who don’t want to pay for a marketing company to devise an expensive plan. They have a solid presence offline and for various reasons (scared, unfamiliar, unwilling, too busy), haven’t fully committed to the virtual world. She wants us to be successful netizens, who view social media as a networking tool that can deliver business success.

 

Martin admits that social media can’t do everything. It isn’t going to make us millionaires over night or sell a poor quality product, she says. The platform provides the backbone, but the business (YOU) has to do its part. The nature of her book suggests a domestic approach to technology. She warns the reader that an absence in social media reflects poorly on the company. She constantly draws analogies between physical world actions and virtual actions, suggesting how interconnected the two worlds are. For example, going on Facebook is like walking into a business luncheon and joining a new site is like becoming the new kid on the block. These references help bridge the gap for people who are hesitant or fearful about being active online, and encourage people to view social media as just another stepping stone towards increased profit, customers and awareness.

 

When a seemingly full bag of chips is actually half full or a shirt marked on “sale” was overpriced in the first place, marketing ethics becomes a problem. It’s the same for social media. Should companies falsely promise their clients value when it’s not there? Martin tackles this in Chapter 6, where she offers tips for pinpointing your story and true voice. I wish she had discussed the competitive nature of social media marketing. As much as authenticity is a desired outcome, the technology itself sets limits. A strong, confident personal story is a start. But learning how to navigate the platforms as well as understanding how your competitors perform their identities, is key to positioning your own. Is there happy medium between Goffman’s front and backstage displays? Is social media changing our story? Gail never delves deep enough.

 

In her enthusiasm for social media (and who doesn’t like a passionate author!), Martin lost touch with the 30-day idea. The title alone is misleading; it’s not about getting suddenly successful in 30 days as much as it is grasping a firm grip on how social media can fit into your personal business. After all, she notes that “insufficient patience” is one of the reasons marketing fails. Martin’s ideas would have benefited from pictures and detailed stories about successful/unsuccessful case studies. At times, it feels like a bunch of great ideas but no execution on her part as author. What makes company B better than company A? What does a strong tie vs. a weak tie look like online? Recognizing our audience is the first step, but communicating effectively with them is another. How do we achieve that? Martin spends too much time on general business/marketing goals instead of the nature of the social media landscape – it just isn’t as similar to a “luncheon” or “cocktail party” as we wish it were. What happened to context collapse?

30 Days to Social Media Success(?)

Oh the power of a pretty book cover and mediocre Amazon reviews. For a woman who knows how to market her own book pretty well (we did all buy a copy, didn’t we?), it really surprises me that the marketing advice she offers within the book is…lacking, to say the least. However, I wouldn’t consider myself part of her target audience so perhaps I’m being a bit too harsh.

Martin’s book is best suited for professionals that already have an established business that has been just getting by through word-of-mouth marketing. But for whatever reason, they have decided to take a leap forward by joining the rest of the world online. Her “anatomy” breakdown of popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are obviously aimed at people who have had no experience with these sites whatsoever. She also seems a little more geared toward professionals who are trying to sell a service more than a product.

 Martin claims she has been in the marketing industry for over 25 years and that is reflected in the advice she provides—in the sense that most of what she was saying is very spot on. She placed a heavy emphasis on commitment and consistency to one’s social media marketing and that is very true, however she doesn’t take it a step further to the point where she is encouraging domestication. She encourages her readers to spend a 30 minutes everyday on social media marketing. This of course probably has to do with the fact that most of her readers are either the only employee of their business or have extremely limited staff, but to only block off 30 minutes every morning is unrealistic and impractical. Sure there are programs that let you schedule content for the rest of the day, however Martin forgets(?) to mention how important it is to reply back and interact with potential clients/customers/fans. Although social media is considered asynchronous communication, the response time for most replies should be made within a couple of hours and most definitely not a day later!

Overall, Martin offers some good points for business owners new to the world of social media, but anyone looking help on social media culture and etiquette should search elsewhere. Martin does not go in-depth enough with any specific social media site and because the book does not zero in on a specific industry, it’s advice and direction is just too vague and will ultimately waste the reader’s time by having them focus on either all social media sites or on ones that are irrelevant to their business.

30 Days to Social Media Success—Gail Z. Martin

30 Days to Social Media Success—Gail Z. Martin

  1. Review Baym’s four major social discourses of new technology. How would you describe your book in terms of these discourses?
    1. Technology Determinism: There is no technological determinism aspect that pushes this book because she explicitly states that the audience that the reader is trying to reach will determine which social media platforms the reader should be more focused on
    2. Social Construction of Technology: There is a little of this aspect in the book, but it is not extreme. She suggests that by following your audience to the social media platforms that they are using most, the reader will be able to get a better idea of where to start.
    3. Social Shaping—Because the author didn’t get that into depth with any single platform, it’s hard to make the case.
    4. Domestication—There is almost no aspect of domestication in this book because the author limits the time spent doing any one activity.
  2. Who do you think the audience is for your book? Does this affect what ideas the books address and how these ideas are talked about?
    1. Audience is most like small business owners who have few employees. These business owners are most likely wearing a lot of different hats (also doing the accounting, sales, management, marketing, etc.) of the store.
    2. The chapter on YouTube and Flickr seems to open up to a different kind of social media platform that is on a different level than either Facebook or Twitter. I think that once you’ve established a presence on both FB and Twitter, you can move onto bigger platforms (like YouTube/ Flickr).
    3. 30 minutes for maintaining and spreading your social media marketing influence is definitely not enough, especially in the beginning stages of social media marketing. To really get your name out there and build a strong foundation, you really need to commit more time.
    4. I think that the author needs to emphasize the importance of engaging and interacting with the reader’s audience much more.
  3. Does your book address any ethical implications of social media and marketing? How so?
    1. I don’t think that there are any overt ethical implications just because she doesn’t actually advise the reader strongly to do something or not to do something. The author basically just introduces the reader to different platforms and ideas rather than really encouraging them to make a strong action.

Blog 4: Book Review Rough Draft

Book: “30 Days to Social Media Success”

by: Gail Z. Martin

  • Audience: seems to be an older audience she is addressing; people who are already established professionals with businesses who now need to expand their businesses online using social media; busy individuals who wants a crash course into the world of social media
  • Discourse Used: Domestication- sets up the notion that social media is a necessary part of business and life nowadays emphasizing that it’s not just a fad; if people want to succeed in business they must succeed in social media
  • Myths About Social Media: 1. it’s just for kids 2. it’s just a fad 3. it’s all you need 4. quantity trumps quality 5. i’m too busy for social media
  • Issues with her points:
  • 1. she contradicts herself a lot- says quantity doesn’t trump quality and that you should know your audience, but then focuses a lot on spreading the word of one’s business rather than focusing it on a specific group
  • 2. doesn’t suggest that one should participate in social media prior to creating a business profile using it; you need to understand how users use it before you can target your audience
  • 3. too brief and unrealistic- seems like a marketing ploy/ quick-fix; also unrealistic to do 1 thing each day for 30 days
  • 4. she has no personal stories of how these techniques helped her- nothing to back up her suggestions
  • 5. doesn’t clearly prioritize- lists numerous sites to use, but it’s unrealistic to keep up with all of them
  • Good Points:
  • know your competitors- use them to expand your business/ turn them into partners
  • notion of having a “true voice” and telling your own personal stories- helps authenticate your business
  • having a business plan/ action plan

“Babe, why aren’t I in your profile picture?”

At one point or another, almost everyone has been friends with that couple on Facebook. Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about: the girl that writes paragraph long status updates about how wonderful her boyfriend is and the boy commenting on his girlfriend’s wall about how much he loves her and how pretty she is. Personally, I’ve never really understood the reason for sharing so much about your personal life on the Internet but apparently many social users, particularly Canadian teenagers, primarily use Facebook for this reason.

The article “Youth, researchers discuss offline impact of social media on teen relationships” was posted earlier this month in Huffpost Style Canada. It discussed a project that a Carleton University professor is currently conducting called the Hanging Out Online Project. Professor Bivens is studying how 13 through 18 year old Canadians are affected by Facebook use by looking at the status updates, photos, comments, etc. posted on the site. Bivens is particularly interested in how Facebook might influence the teens’ thoughts on relationships, gender-based violence, and other individuals. Her observations have found that some teenagers share a considerable amount of information about themselves, specifically details about their relationships and offline activities.

Why, might you ask? Bivens attributes some of this behavior to “broadcast impulse”; She says “we have this impulse to broadcast this information in this habitual way”. But again, why do we experience such an impulse? 17-year-old Hanna Gillis says “a lot of times on social networking sites, it’s more for show”. She believes that people just want to brag and show off that they’re in a relationship because it makes them look cool. This idea was reminiscent of both danah boyd’s “Why Youth ❤ Social Media” and Rebekah Willet’s “As soon as you get on Bebo you just go mad“. At the beginning of boyd’s article, she quotes a young, teenage girl named Vivian who wasn’t popular in school, but would always post photos of the extravagant vacations she went on with her parents so the other kids would “want to be [her] friend”. The information that Vivian shared online is just how the article describes teenagers posting about their relationships: the intent is to impress or show off to a particular audience in order to be accepted and esteemed. In her article, Willet discusses Goffman’s idea of identify performance, stating, “We think about how to present ourselves to others, we think about how others see us, we strategise and consider how best to achieve our goals through our presentation of self.” With so many different platforms to choose from, kids are incorporating social media into their self-presentation strategies. Judging by boyd’s interview and Bivens’ findings, as well as the Huffpost article’s commentary from teens themselves, what’s being put online is completely calculated by some users.

Another issue raised in the Huffington Post article was that of privacy. This was something that boyd and Alice Marwick in their article, “Social Steganography: Privacy in Networked Publics“. They talked about the different definition and levels of privacy between children and their parents. In terms of social media, parents think of privacy as a means of protection and a way to keep their children away from the stranger danger lurking around on the Internet. Teens, however, define privacy as keeping things from their parents; they don’t want their parents stalking their Facebook profiles, much like they wouldn’t want them reading their a journal or diary. The Huffpost article brought up the idea that there is also a discrepancy of privacy’s definition amongst kids. In reference to over-sharing online, 18 year old Ben Lord commented, “I can’t judge anyone on how comfortable they are with that kind of thing. But you have to recognize there are different levels (of privacy).” He described how some people have photos of them making out with their boyfriend/girlfriend while others don’t even like to have their relationship status publicly listed online; although there is a more obvious difference between how parents and their children view privacy, it’s interesting to learn that the definition varies so much among teenagers, as well.

Another compelling point that Lord made was that “we’re just such a technologically-driven generation that [social media use] is integrated into us, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing to the extent that we’ve taken it.” This was suggestive of Nancy Baym’s discussion of domestication in her book Personal Connections in the Digital World and also Professor P-S’s mention of the third person effect during class. Domestication occurs when a new technology becomes second nature to us, while the third person effect is when you think you aren’t affected by the media but you think that other users are. Although Lord acknowledges how much social media has become a part of our lives, I don’t think all other teens, particularly younger teens, would agree about just how much they’re being affected. A girl interviewed in the boyd and Marwick article said, “It’s pretty much expected you’re on Facebook… there’s [isn’t] any reason not to be.” Since it’s become so naturalized, they might not realize the extent to which they’re using sites such as Facebook to communicate a contrived personality that they want others to receive.

Blog Post 3: “New Girl”

In the first season of the television series “New Girl,” the main character, Jessica Day, finds herself the butt of a YouTube joke. This occurs specifically in the 14th episode, entitled, “Bully.” The story line is this: Jess Day is an elementary school teacher who believes in the power of song as a teaching technique. One day, a young boy requests to stay behind and eat lunch in the classroom alone; Jess is concerned, and so he confides in her that he is being made fun of—the other kids in the cafeteria have started playing a game titled “Coin Slot,” which consists of putting pennies in this poor child’s butt crack. When the class returns from lunch, Jess and the troubled student stand in front of the class while she sings about why bullying should stop. Meanwhile, all of the students watching this phenomenon all have out their cell phones, video recording the show. Later that evening, her roommate shows her a YouTube video in which she is starring. Basically, Jess Day’s head has been put onto a sparrow’s body and the song is playing in the background. During the song, a bird continuously poops on her head. Although she sang the song only a couple hours before this, the video already has over 1000 views. The person who has posted this video is a girl in Jess’s class.

(Also in the same episode, a man in his late twenties takes a photo of his genitals and sends it to his partner, whom he asks later, “Did you receive my junk mail?” Although this man is not considered “youth,” it is interesting to note that even though this sexting scene is not one of the most important in the episode, it is still included.)

This incident is framed in a way that most social media site users are familiar with, although they may never have been the butt of a SNS joke.

The three readings which I will compare the “New Girl” YouTube incident I’ve found to are: “Why Youth Heart Social Network Sites: The Role of the Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life” by danah boyd, “Prevalence and Characteristics of Youth Sexting: A National Study” by Kimberly J. Mitchell, PhD, David Finkelhor, PhD, Lisa M. Jones, PhD, and Janis Wolak, JD, and ‘‘ ‘As soon as you get on Bebo you just go mad’: young consumers and the discursive construction of teenagers online” by Rebekah Willett.

First, “Why Youth Heart Social Network Sites: The Role of the Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life” by danah boyd explores the idea that youths are exploring another public when they are exposing themselves and their works on social media sites. She goes on to say that although their access to their sites is regularly restricted due to uneasy feelings stemming from adults (parents, teachers, etc.), it is the older population’s responsibility to learn from what the youth is experiencing on social media sites in order to help them navigate these sites more intelligently and effectively. Coming back to “New Girl,” Jess Day’s solution is to watch the video through, read the comments, and get a feel for why this video was posted. In class the next day, Jess Day calls up the girl responsible for posting the YouTube video to the front of the classroom and has the girl sing a duet with her in front of the entire class. She states, before the song begins, “Camera phones are encouraged!” This video also gets posted on YouTube for the world to see.

“Prevalence and Characteristics of Youth Sexting: A National Study” by Kimberly J. Mitchell, PhD, David Finkelhor, PhD, Lisa M. Jones, PhD, and Janis Wolak, JD confirms that sexting is not the norm when it comes to youth use of social media. However, as “New Girl” suggests, social media can be (and has been) used for other degrading tasks, such as bullying. Its layout is similar to a pamphlet, and it’s use of tables and diagrams really enhance the readers’ understandings of the argument; I feel that it’s just as accessible and “user-friendly” as the scene portraying the YouTube bullying.

Finally, the article, ‘‘ ‘As soon as you get on Bebo you just go mad’: young consumers and the discursive construction of teenagers online” by Rebekah Willett, considers that social media a way of creating a youth’s identity through reaching out to a variety of communities and audiences. This also rings true for the “New Girl” video as the girl who posted the video is solidifying her role and identity as a bully through reaching out to an almost infinite and ever expanding audience.

Blog 3, Livin Young and Wild and Free….

It’s not unusual for adults to perceive teens as irresponsible, naïve, and unaware of their own best interests because, after all, they themselves were teens not so long ago. It is also common for adults, and authority figures in particular, to blame social media for careless teenage behavior perhaps because they’d rather blame a third party than their own lack of parenting or guidance which may be the key causes of these actions in the first place. Case and point, the article I found, “Police use social media, avert ‘Project X’ teen alcohol party in Ossining” about “Project X” inspired parties and the police’s effort to battle these ragers using social media (the accused party catalyst). ‘Project X’ is a recently released movie about high school students who throw a house party which turns into utter mayhem (including a SWAT team, drugs and alcohol, etc.) after word spreads. The movie encompasses every out-of-town parent’s worst nightmare, but is clearly a wild exaggeration of what happens (and what has been happening for decades) when kids throw a house party.

This article not only instills unnecessary fears in the hearts and minds of parents, but also sets up social media as the ultimate source of irresponsible chaos. “The use of social media makes these things take on a life of their own,” Ossining police Lt. Michael McElroy is quoted as saying; he continues to characterize the monster that is social media saying, “The volume of people that can be notified in a second changes the whole dynamic. Social networking isn’t just friends. It’s whoever’s on the list.” Although I’m sure social media makes it easier to send out party invites, huge parties such as the one in ‘Project X’ have been occurring since the teenage years of our parents, way before social media ever existed. If sites such as Facebook or Twitter didn’t exist teens would find other ways to spread the word (irresponsible teens are very resourceful after all…gasp!).

One of my favorite parts of the article was when it mentions flash mobs, as if it were actually some kind of mafia associated evil, “In Peekskill, Lt. Eric Johansen said he was not privy yet to these ‘Project X’-like parties but was familiar with flash mobs. A flash mob is when a specific event is advertised on social media to see how many people will show up.” I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word ‘flash mob’ the only thing that comes to mind is a group of hundreds of people doing some ridiculous choreographed dance in the middle of Grand Central Station, not some type of mutinous organization of the masses.

The hyper-dramatized discourse surrounding social media in this article reminds me greatly of the hyper-sexualization of the “sexting epidemic” we have been discussing in class. The sexting PSA video we watched which highlighted the stereotype of naïve teens correlates to the characterization of naïve teens who, according to Lt. McElroy, “are influenced by things they see and hear.” I will not argue that kids and teens are not influenced by things they are exposed to, but so are adults. Rebeka Willet’s points out the “third person affect” in her article As soon as you get on Bebo you just go mad’’: young consumers and the discursive construction of teenagers online.” This affect occurs when a person, or group of people, has the idea that things (such as social media) will affect others but will not affect themselves. In our media saturated society it is virtually impossible to go about life unaffected or uninfluenced by things we see. People, however,have minds of their own (teens included) and maturation enough to distinguish the difference between what is right and wrong and so putting the blame entirely on social media is unfair and unrealistic.

Another correlation between this article and our readings was the concept of fighting fire with fire, or in this case, fighting social media with social media. Just as Boyd and Marwick point out parents’ monitoring of their children’s online activity as a way of protecting them and keeping tabs on them in their article, “Social Steganography: Privacy in Networked Publics” the police in this article warn, in a way, teenagers of their own social media savvy, “We actively participate in Facebook and Twitter and so, by default, we will be notified of these types of occurrences,” states Lt. McElroy. It can be argued that this hyper-monitoring of social media sites is just a way to protect teens from dangerous activities, but can also be just another way of taking back the power which they have lost in the realm of social media, in which age is much less of a barrier than it is in the physical world.

 

Too young, too soon….?

“Don’t worry,” said the young father sitting next to me on the plane with his 2 year old, “I’ve got the iPad.” It completely worked.

 

 

Images via 1, 2

Technology has captured the attention of all ages. Nowadays children grow up not just with Dora and Elmo, but iPads and iPods and Kindle Fires. Naturally these technologies become a norm for social engagement, just one reason perhaps why children under 13 are lying about their age to access social network sites. In the New York Times article “Facebook Users Who Are Under Age Raise Concerns,” researches report that parents are promoting their child’s “minor fib.” By doing so, parents have set their child loose in the digital world, leaving them vulnerable to issues like cyber bullying and child pornography. Some researchers argue Facebook is to blame; their lack of resources to protect children are making it easy for a third-grader to tell a little white lie. While others point directly to the parents, who give into their child’s demand and/or simply oversee the issue at hand – there is a reason why Facebook sets the age at 13.

 

Today the digital divide between parents and children can be harmful. One parent allowed her 11-year-old son to lie about his age to avoid him signing up without her knowing. Another parent wanted his daughter to have “experience using the Internet.” Whatever the reason, letting your young, immature child navigate freely on Facebook isn’t healthy. As more and more children lie, they set a standard for their friends. Just as one boy mentions in boyd and Marwick’s paper, “If you’re not on MySpace, you don’t exist.” A child follows his peer online because it’s the cool thing to do but doesn’t understand the consequences. But the parent should.

 

What happens if we continue to let the under-13 community sign on Facebook? Will they become masters of boyd and Marwick’s social steganography, furthering the divide from their authority figures? Could their pictures be unknowingly posted on inappropriate sites, as the article shares? As their identities form, will they engage in cyber bullying? For one elementary school teacher, this dilemma could cause a major domino effect. “What happens when they want to drink beer?” she says. This idea plays into the “hypersexualization of youth and extreme risk-taking,” that Mitchell discusses in her study. Like sexting, the conversations and exchanges that occur on Facebook, whether you are a participant or a lurker, can encourage behaviors that aren’t age-appropriate. However also like sexting, we may assume these issues are much bigger than they actually are.

 

While the article provides an overview of why some parents allow their children to lie and insight into this digital dilemma, there are quite a few holes. First, the “child” in this article needs a voice. Why does he/she want to be on Facebook? How much of their influence comes from parents, siblings, peers and television? Secondly, there is no mention of parents who either try to monitor their children through sites like EyeGuardian, promote safe sites like PixyKids and ScuttlePad and/or simply prohibit online interaction. In a report done by Lori Takeuchi, there is an interesting image diagramming the ecological perspective of human development. The microsystem is composed of the child’s immediate environment. Seeing “digital media spaces” next to “church,” “home” and “school” is a visual representation of its power – something I think we take for granted. Articles like this NTY’s one need to respond from all angles. Instead, it beings to feel like all parents let their children lie, or all children under 13 want to be on Facebook. This diagram also speaks directly to boyd’s discussion of access in her ethnographic study. Depending on the child’s exosystem (larger social structures), there access to media varies. It would be fascinating to further study the participatory vs. access divide that boyd mentions, as it may reveal trends for the future.

 

Diagram

 

While I was reading through articles about young (6-13 years) people and social media, I could feel the hesitancy and fear. How can we safely teach our children to use the technology that they inevitably will use later in life? Is there a right or a wrong way? Should social media be taught in school or at home? How can we cross the line if we don’t know where the line is? Who teaches a child about privacy? Technological affordances have given us an incredible gift that enables us to shape and reshape our world. But it has also provided a platform for danger and inconsistency. Children will continue to fake there way onto Facebook; ‘safer’ social network sites will keep popping up – none of it’s going to stop. But our ability to inform and teach the young generations about balance and integrity is a start. If a positive message can reach one child it can reach his friend…and his friend…and his friend.