How a better understanding of social media audiences changed my usage

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Whether it be through Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook, social media enables people to create a virtual reputation without ever meeting someone. Although it takes away from face-to-face interactions, as outlined in this 2015 story, it’s fascinating to see how people portray themselves online. I give off a different representation of myself on different social media platforms. On Twitter, I’m a student reporter who tweets mostly just about Syracuse basketball, with tweets like this:

On Instagram, I’m a college senior who acts more along the lines of what you’d expect from a college senior. On Snapchat, I’m a regular person providing a glimpse into activities throughout my day to people I’ve spoken to that day, in the last week or maybe just once in the past several years.

In that sense, social media has changed me because I have different followers on each outlet, and in turn different groups of people to appeal to with what I’m posting. Prospective employers follow me on Twitter, so I try to show that I’m the main news source for SU basketball to make myself a more appealing candidate, with tweets like this:

On Snapchat, I’ve started posting more since the app has turned into our generation’s main method to chronicle hour-by-hour happenings. On Instagram, I’ve started posting more “artsy” pictures because they tend to tell a better story as opposed to a candid shot.

Social media itself hasn’t technically changed me, but my understanding of each platform has changed the way I use them so I can appeal to the widest variety of people in my public (journalism professionals on Twitter) and private (friends on Snapchat and Instagram) audiences.

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2 thoughts on “How a better understanding of social media audiences changed my usage

  1. It’s interesting how different your personalities on each form of social media are. We often talk about how different people are online (sometimes behind anonymous identities) but sometimes overlook the different identities taken on in different parts of the web. As you point out, each social media platform has its own personality and style so it seems like you’ve aligned yourself with that at least partially to achieve the highest success on each one.

  2. I completely understanding dividing your social media profiles between professional and personal. You have your personal network that includes friends, family, and classmates. Then, you have your professional network that includes colleagues and prospective employers. One thing I wonder, is it possible to combine both? Is there a way for your personal brand to become or mirror your professional persona. I know for me on Instagram this is something I am trying to figure out. The message you put out into the world through social media has to be consistent. It’s there forever, so why not put out something authentic? That’s what I hope to accomplish, with both my personal and professional self. I advocate for fun, positivity and inspiration. I hope you can find a way to bridge the gap between both accounts.

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