Social Media and Modern Life

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Sree Sreenivasan, Dean of Student Affairs and digital media professor at Columbia Journalism School, discusses the role of social networking in modern life and the media, for better or worse.

Is your professional life integrated into your social media life? Have you found that helpful or harmful to your career?

Have you attempted to turn off your online life? Have you been successful?

Give us a call at 212-433-9692, or leave a comment, to let us know!


Sree Sreenivasan

Comments [28]

Wanda from Queens, NYC

I would recommend FOMO Jiu Jitsu. FOMO Jiu Jitsu, is the method in which a user of a social network service, exerts moderation on the use of such service. FOMO is the acronym for the "fear of missing out," and Jiu Jitsu is the martial art that incorporates fighting an opponent greater than you. In this case, the larger opponent is your own FOMO. And Jiu Jitsu, is how to channel the larger-than-life interest for social media, towards you. In other words, FOMO Jiu Jitsu takes the interest to explore social media towards exploring yourself. One way to practice FOMO Jiu Jitsu is by taking long breaks from social media, say 6 to 8 months away from your social network, inevitably you'll end up doing some other great personal project, and when you return again to social media, you'll be energized to continue building a better encyclopedia of yourself.

Feb. 18 2012 02:48 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I should've asked the screener to read back the text for the button I ordered. It says, "I'll join Facebook when I'm convinced they'll keep their cold virtual hands off my privacy settings!" They keep saying they'll stop, & then they do it again.

The other thing that bugs me about a lot of social media is that many of their agreements (yes, I actually read them) give them the copyright over what users post there.

Jan. 05 2012 01:08 AM
Mark from Morristown

Leonard: Good interviewers ask good questions, not make declarative statements. I do not why someone who portrays himself as an expert on every other subject was so willing to reveal his ignorance on social media. Why not say, "Can you tell our listeners about LinkedIn?" which does not reveal what you know, or in this case, what you don't know. I am 60+ and would never embarrass myself the way you did. I like fountain pens and computers, writing letters and Facebook, Adele and Ella Fitzgerald. Too many people 50+ cannot get hired because they are like you and think it is acceptable to be ignorant on contemporary matters. Frankly, more irritating is that 99% of the time you make statements to your guests that make you appear to know as much about a subject as they do, though they spent 5 years doing research for their book. Listen to Terry Gross sometime. When she makes a statement it is, "My favorite line in your book is ..." When the author says, "No one has said that before. That is my favorite line as well." Imagine the magical moment of that conversation!

Jan. 04 2012 02:59 PM
Lex from NYC

I still think we give our "private" lives way too much importance. Besides, how much of what you post online is accurate? Why would there be any information about my meds or what recreational drugs I take online? Your online info is controlled by you. If you want to be covert, there are still "old Fashion" options one can resort to. I've been using social media since 2000 - begining with Friendster and I've been a pretty public figure in my scene. Yes, a lot of my laundry got aired - e.g., whose wife I slept with and what I smoked, but now over a decade later - I'm still around - eating, sleeping and... It's just play folks, it's just play... Most of us are just joggin on a treadmill. That's all

Jan. 04 2012 02:57 PM

In response to the interview and other comments:

Without privacy there is no democracy. No person behaves the same in public and in private. It is the assurance of privacy that allows people to take risks, think deeply and evolve.

Unfortunately, the Professor did not really address the relationship of news outlets with social media.

Recommending that teenagers filter their information so they don't have regrets later in life later is like giving them the keys to the Corvette and expecting them to never drive above 30 MPH. I'm not advocating censorship just mandatory features where people can manage the exposure and longevity of their information. Europe is ahead of the US in enforcing privacy against corporate advance

As noted by Jeffrey Rosen, editor of the recently released Constitution 3.0, we live in a world in which "private corporations have more power over free speech and privacy than any president, king, or Supreme Court justice." How many of us, when confronted with the cold facts and their consequences, want to live in this world?

Jan. 04 2012 02:28 PM
John A.

The view I'm beginning to see is that the person isn't copying personal information to the Internet so much as building a self that to them is more important than the physical self. This is dangerous to say the least, if just in terms of lost time.

Jan. 04 2012 02:18 PM
The Truth from Becky

It is just nuts and baffling to me how much personal information people share online?!

Jan. 04 2012 01:56 PM
John A.

The next big story, and I hope not, actually might be how the need for anonyimzing (to hide your personal information from catching up to You) - how that became the Culture of Anonymous. And that culture morphing in to a new Mafia or worse, al-Quaeda.

Jan. 04 2012 01:53 PM
Nick from UWS

It's ironic that the 1984 surveillance state that everyone was afraid the government would create is now being created voluntarily by the general populace itself.

Jan. 04 2012 01:53 PM
Nick from UWS

It's ironic that the 1984 surveillance state that everyone was afraid the government would create is now being created by the general populace themselves.

Jan. 04 2012 01:51 PM
Lex from NYC

Why are we so obsessed with privacy. Unless your info puts your life in jeopardy, what's the big deal? Do most of us do anything that's really so so important or so so illegal or so "immoral" that we should be wary of publicity? Once you're dead nothing will matter anyway - at least not to you...

Jan. 04 2012 01:49 PM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

I have been waiting to see if there's a mass correction for the over-saturation of social media and the common practice these days of "oversharing." Though I am a member of several social media sites, I am only an occasional participant. I find value in professional services like Linked In and groups related to my professional interests, but honestly, I just do not want to spend most of my waking hours staring at a computer screen or IPhone screen; I already do that at my job, and prefer to spend my time doing "real" activities in my spare time.

I am often flummoxed by the fact major companies think I will go "Follow" them on Facebook and Twitter; why would I need to "follow" Dunkin' Donuts when I can stop in there on my way to the subway? It's overkill.

Jan. 04 2012 01:48 PM

It's not about what you POST.. it's all the data that's collected by "liking" something.. articles you click on. Your data trail.. not to mention all that info sold to 3rd party sites.

Jan. 04 2012 01:46 PM
colleen from Brooklyn

I am over 40--so feel I can "control" myself with regards what I choose to post or choose not post on social media; I feel the sheer immediacy or impulsive aspect of this medium is a very bad mix with teenages. It excerbates their tendencies to say whatever comes into their mind with little introspection. A dangerous mix...

Jan. 04 2012 01:46 PM
John Lee from UWC NYC

Would like to hear Sree's take on social media impact rating sites such as Klout

Jan. 04 2012 01:43 PM

My 17 year old insists that Twitter is only for old people.

Jan. 04 2012 01:38 PM
Maria from NJ

I'm with Anna.... can Sree talk a bit more about Google + and its merits or value versus Facebook, please?

Jan. 04 2012 01:38 PM
Michael from Williamsburg

Great topic, cancelled my Facebook years ago. Finding the control of Twitter a more satisfying experience.

Amazing analysis of the uses of the Internet for political change or not...

Jan. 04 2012 01:37 PM
John Lee from UWS NYC

Over tha last few years I've logged a lot of time in social media forums, seminars, panel discussions and Sree is one of the best folks I've met in this space. Insightful, generous with his time and ideas...a social media mensch.

Agreeing with what he's saying right now about Linkedin...

Jan. 04 2012 01:36 PM

The media is catering to Facebook because the media is owned by corporations. Corporations like to sell things and love the personal data provided by FB. Plus with the CIA funding FB, good luck with privacy concerns.

Jan. 04 2012 01:36 PM
Jarod from UWS

Per Fern's comment, Marshall McLuhan suggested an end to privacy as communication becomes more fluid. What he leaves out are predatory corporations and discriminating employers.

Jan. 04 2012 01:35 PM
Catherine from Brooklyn

I think it's all a question of curating what you post online. Would you share something with a total stranger that is very personal to you? No? Then why would you post it online?

Jan. 04 2012 01:33 PM
The Truth from Becky

It is because of my professional life that old acquaintances are able to locate my personal life, I have false information and if they can identify me from my avatar....good luck!

Jan. 04 2012 01:31 PM
Larry from Williamsburg

I will join Facebook when they pay me for my information and the names of my friends. I have a price :)

Jan. 04 2012 01:26 PM

I would like Prof. Sreenivasan to address the issues of privacy brought about, not by the medium, but by the behavior of social media corporations, specially Facebook. I'm specially interested in the way the news outlets are catering to social media.
I recently signed up for a premium (paid) Spotify account and later was notified that a long time deactivated Facebook account had been activated because Spotify forces its members to be members of Facebook. It it legal? I quit Spotify in protest.
Imagine if a supermarket chain would only sell me some products if I shopped for my clothes at their chosen stores? (how can Facebook retain my information for so long?)
As a professor of journalism, do you support the way Facebook curates its members news and contacts to maximize its advertising profits?
What do you think of clicking on "like" above a story about a massacre in the Sudan?
And do you think a whole generation growing up without traditional news outlets is better off depending on George Clooney to learn about Darfur? As Mr. Zuckerberg himself said, "a squirrel dying in your front yard may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa." Who is going to "like" bad news?

Jan. 04 2012 01:21 PM
John A

Absolutely correct to include tumblr in this segment. It is the "echo chamber" for kids in this moment in Internet history.

Jan. 04 2012 12:51 PM
Sarah from UWS

I've been one of the Facebook "resisters" if only to keep my family life separate from my working life. After Linked-In went public I was hit with a deluge of emails from new and old coworker connections. A few weeks later I can't it feels really watered down. I've since tuned it out and I assume everyone else does. I can see it becoming something that wont be of any help. I've seen the demise of AOL and Myspace, who is to say these companies are here to stay?

Jan. 04 2012 12:45 PM
Anna from Long Island, NY

A lot of my connections on traditional social media (twitter, facebook) are a mixed bag of friends, family and professional colleagues. Because of this, I am often very careful about the content I post and do a lot of self censorship on a daily basis. With G+, however, it has been much easier for me to assign groups and tag names based on the type of content I am posting. Unfortunately, most of my social media contacts do not actually use G+. Do you think that will change and their subscriber base will grow?

Jan. 04 2012 12:21 PM

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