Are you a social media fanatic? An aspiring Instagram influencer? We’re not either of these things… but we’re normal folks who use social media. So, today, we’re talking about it. We’ll talk about our own usage, we’ll try to guess what’s popular with teenagers these days, and we’ll discuss the challenge of deciding whether your social media usage is private, personal, or both.
Paige: You are listening to Coffee with Gringos. I’m Paige Sutherland.
Mariah: And I’m Mariah Wika. Welcome back everybody! Today, we’re talking about social media, something that all of use in various ways… or most of us use, unless you’re very, very old-fashioned, and it’s okay if you are! No worries. But for those of us that do use social media, today we’ll be talking about the ways that it interacts with our personal life, with our professional life, and our own usage. So, remember, if you get lost as we’re talking, the transcript for this episode and a key vocabulary, phrases, and slang guide are on our website.
Paige: So, I think to start, we should talk about probably the social media platform that has been around the longest - Facebook.
Paige: I think everyone has had a Facebook.
Mariah: Hey now, Paige. Don’t forget Myspace! Don’t forget Myspace!
Paige: Um well, post Myspace.
Mariah: Rest in peace.
Paige: Everyone has a Facebook account. Whether they use it or not, they’ve had it at one point in their lives. I still use Facebook.
Mariah: I also use Facebook.
Paige: All the time. I think that makes me more old fashioned.
Mariah: Do you use it every day?
Paige: I probably look at it every day.
Mariah: You check it every day.
Paige: But I post things probably twice a month.
Mariah: Yeah, I used to post a lot more frequently. Now, I more just go on to look. I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but I use it a lot for news. I know that that’s a dangerous way to get your news because there’s a lot of --
Paige: echo chamber…
Mariah: -- yeah, and there’s a lot of questionable news sources bouncing around on social media.
Paige: It’s normal. A lot of people get their news from Facebook; I mean people you like “like” the same things, so that’s why the articles they share on Facebook are generally stuff that you’d be interested in.
Mariah: Right. But I think that Facebook is -- and a lot of research says this as well -- that Facebook is changing, and while most adults have a Facebook, it’s become so much more popular with older audiences, with adult audiences. And I was actually just reading an article with a study from the Pew Research Center that said that for young people, it’s all about Snapchat and Instagram. Facebook is not really relevant with the youths.
Paige: I think for the older generation, like for instance my parents, they didn’t have this when they were growing up, so they kind of get excited. Whenever I go out with my parents, they always check in at the movies we’re going to or the ice cream store. They always wanna post that they’re doing things, and they are by far probably my favorite followers on Facebook.
Mariah: Your biggest fans!!!
Paige: They “like” everything I post and love to comment with some silly thing “Love, mom.”
Mariah: Yeah. And I think it’s really cool because my mom, for example, she has a really active, engaged Facebook community. Her group of friends… they really support each other on there. They’re constantly sharing things that matter to each other. They’re commenting, they’re “liking” each other’s posts, they’re “loving” each other’s posts. Y’know? It’s cool to see. I don’t think it’s like that for 15 years old.
Paige: Most young people nowadays don’t even have a Facebook. I think we’re the generation where it was very popular, and we’re kind of fading out of it. But we at least still have one, where I think people who are 13, 14 nowadays are only on Instagram and Snapchat.
Mariah: Right, and I think it’s still relevant, but yeah… definitely, the research shows that for now, it’s not what’s most popular for them. It’s uploading photos to instagram. It’s posting about their high school life.
Paige: And for anyone that goes into a job interview, at least in the US, you should be prepared that an employer will look at your Facebook account.
Mariah: Will look at your Instagram.
Paige: It’s very important to make sure that whatever you have out there is professional, that you use privacy settings. If there's certain things out there that you wanna keep in your social network and not in the professional world. It is something that once you’re out there on these accounts… you’re really out there.
Mariah: Yeah, exactly. That data exists for the world to see, whether that be a future employer or a family member… it’s something that you have to be cautious about, in many ways.
Paige: I think bouncing off that idea… I’ve had a lot of, I guess, doubt in my professional world of y’know, should I post something on my social account that maybe someone in my professional world will see? Or should I, y’know, if I get a friend request from someone that I talk with at work… we only talk work… should I accept that request? Or should I keep those two worlds separate? This is my personal, private life. This is my business life. Do not mix them. It’s tough.
Mariah: Social media blurs those lines, for sure. I’ve definitely thought the same thing. For example, in your case, do you want somebody that you interview for a story that you report on to see a picture of your family reunion? I’m pretty outspoken about my political beliefs on Facebook. Do I want a future employer to know everything that I believe and all of the details of why? It’s challenging to decide what to share and how much to share. The line between professional life and personal life is definitely not totally clear when it comes to social media. But something that I’m really fascinated by is when people turn social media into their career. Influencers… that’s a new term. And it’s a big deal, right? These are people that make social media, particularly Instagram, into a viable career that they get paid to do.
Paige: I always wondered that. I follow some of these quote, unquote “influencers,” and a lot of them are so witty and funny and they just come up with all these original posts probably once or twice a day, and I wonder how that turns into something you just do for fun, and then it becomes a job.
Mariah: I know. Most people didn’t start an Instagram account to become an influencer, y’know? But it’s interesting how that’s grown out of this platform. And I like following a lot of these people, but I also… it just blows my mind that by posting content on social media, your image is something that’s translated into monetary value.
Paige: No, yeah, and I think that people who have capitalized the most on that are celebrities. I think that so many celebrities are maybe C-level celebrities, and then they just have this personality on social media that makes them into these super stars. People wanna know what they’re doing with their kids, what about their wife, what vacations they’re going on. Everything becomes a brand on social media, where if the celebrity does it right, they can become…
Paige: Besides celebrities, nowadays people quote important people from their social media accounts. Like the President of the US… his quotes come from Twitter.
Mariah: Right, he’s constantly using it, whether he should or not. And it’s wild how our news, our personal communication, our professional life… they’re suddenly completely interwoven with these platforms.
Paige: Like you said, it was Myspace. It’s Facebook. Now it’s Instagram, Snapchat… I don’t know what’s gonna be next. There’s always gonna be something.
Mariah: That’s the wild and exciting thing about social media is that a platform enters our life and has this huge impact, it changes all sorts of things, it changes the way we interact with each other. And you’re right… we never know what’s coming next!
Paige: Maybe we should invent something. Next time.
Mariah: Coffee with Gringos, take two… a new social media platform. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you soon.
KEY VOCABULARY, PHRASES, AND SLANG
Old-fashioned (adjective) - not current, not modern
Example: Most people use social media, unless you’re very old-fashioned.
Social network (noun) - a website or application that allows users to connect online
Example: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are social networks.
Account (noun) - in the context of social media, your personal profile
Example: For many people, it’s normal to have a Facebook account.
Social Media Platform (noun) - a social media site or technological space that holds social networks
Example: One of the first social media platforms was Facebook.
Rest in peace (phrase) - generally used to express sympathy after somebody dies, but can also be used casually in regards to the end of something
Example: Rest in peace, Myspace.
To check (verb) - in a social media context, to look at your social media account
Example: Paige checks Facebook once a day.
To post (verb) - to publish words, a photo, or other information on your personal social media profile
Example: I prefer Instagram because I really enjoy posting photos.
Ashamed (adjective) - embarrassed, feeling shame
Example: I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I often use Facebook as a resource for news.
Echo chamber (noun) - a metaphor to describe when your personal beliefs are repeated and shared by all of the people around you
Example: If all of your friends share your opinions, Facebook can be an echo chamber.
For instance (phrase) - for example
Example: Facebook is very popular with older audiences. For instance, my parents love using it.
To like (verb) - in the context of social media, to click an icon that shows positive support for something, most commonly used when talking about Facebook posts
Followers (noun) - the people that follow your social media account, usually referring to Instagram.
Example: I have about 600 followers on Instagram. I’m following about 750 people.
Nowadays (adverb) - at the present time
Example: Most young people nowadays don’t even have a Facebook.
To upload (verb) - to add a photo to your social media account
Example: I love uploading photos to instagram. It’s a great way to share my life with my friends and family.
Friend request (noun) - what a person sends when they want to connect with you on a social media platform
Example: I sometimes don’t know if I should accept friend requests from people in my professional network. It can be difficult to determine personal and professional boundaries with social media!
Blur (verb) - to make unclear
Example: Social media blurs the lines between personal and professional life.
Outspoken (adjective) - vocal about your opinions
Example: I’m outspoken about my political beliefs on Facebook.
Influencer (noun) - a person who has social influence and is often paid for the content they post on social media
Example: Influencers are people that make social media, particularly Instagram, into a viable career that they get paid to do.
Witty (adjective) - clever
Example: Many influencers post witty, interesting content several times a day!
Blows my mind (phrase, idiom) - completely surprising or shocking
Example: It blows my mind that by posting content on social media, your image is something that’s translated into monetary value.
C-Level celebrities (noun) - famous people who aren’t particularly well-known or popular
Example: Some C-Level celebrities have managed to find more popularity and success by using social media.
Capitalize on (phrasal verb) - to take advantage of a situation
Example: Celebrities have capitalized on social media as an opportunity to get more fans.