Do You Value Facebook Memes?

When I first read the PR Daily Article Why Facebook Should Stop Judging Content Quality” I was a little upset by Facebook’s decision to devalue memes. The article got the response it was looking for in me when it said, “You are too stupid to recognize quality posts (Carter, paragraph 3).”


But then I stopped and really thought about it. Personally, I don’t like memes. I ignore them when they are on my newsfeed, and I would be happy to see even less of them. 


This weekend, I had the great opportunity to talk to someone who works at Facebook, and I mentioned this topic. Although he did not personally work on the code that assigns value to posts, he said there may have been several reasons for this. He said that it was true, Facebook did think memes were of lower content, for reasons that make sense. Memes are not completely original works, which may cause some problems with copyright law. And in a sense, they are actually quite similar to posts that beg for “likes.” They do not stir up much original conversation or earn many “shares,” instead they just gather “likes.” Therefore, they are of “lower quality.” 


My initial feelings did not last long. While I do not personally appreciate memes because they seem a bit like spam to me, I still do believe that we should have some say as to what appears on our newsfeed. In my settings, I should be able to say whether or not I would like memes to appear, even possibly going as far as to select which brand or company’s memes I would like to see. This would be the best of both worlds. People like me who like memes, but do not necessary appreciate businesses trying to use them, could decide for themselves just how important memes are. 


Above all, I believe that Facebook is trying to make improvements, and do what they think is both best and what their users want. Just because memes have been devalued now does not mean that they will be forever.


How Social Media Could Have Changed 9/11

It is hard to believe that this week marked the 12th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11. I remember that day vividly. Sitting at my desk in third grade feeling like I understood everything and nothing at the same time. 


If those attacks happened now, in this day and age, I really believe that things would have been much different. 


Social media is so easy to use and so accessible now, and with cell phones always handy, more people would have gotten to talk to their loved ones. 


For those who were trapped in the World Trade Center and could not get out, social media may have been able to provide a platform for exchanges to take place. Cell towers were congested, but with wifi and phones and 3G and 4G service, there may have been more closure. For those who did get out, they could let their loved ones know immediately, instead of inducing a panic over “what-ifs.” 


Just like those trapped in the buildings, those trapped in the hijacked planes also could have gotten last minute messages out. 


Social media, especially Twitter, would be a place for love and memories. Often social media is now thought of with a slight negative connotation because some say it takes away from our actual relationships. If Twitter had existed then, it would have done the opposite. 


Social media also would have changed the way 9/11 was reported. I remember the news just being a constant loop of the first and second towers getting attacked. If the attacks happened now, I think social media would have constant reports of varying information. With technology so advanced, there would most likely be more breaking developments in the stories of the terrorist attacks, so the news would be constantly changing. Then, it seemed like time was standing still and people struggled to find out what was happening. 


Journalists would have been able to share articles immediately, instead of trying to post information on sites that kept crashing. 


In terms of swaying public opinion, I do not know if social media would have been that big of a factor. The news of that day was so shocking, that people were barely processing, let alone forming a strong opinion. Unlike many other major news events, different media outlets shared a similar opinion, and there was a sense of pride for our nation. I believe that that would still be true with social media.


With social media, there also may have been a shift from focusing on the horrifying news to focusing on what is and was good in the world. Instagram may have been a place for people to share pictures of people doing good deeds, and opening up their homes to people in need. Twitter would have broken news at lightning speed. Facebook would have allowed people to communicate. 


It has been 12 years since that fateful day, and it is not any less devastating. Thousands of people lost their lives that day, and even more lost people they loved. Had social media been what it is today, at least there may have been a way to say goodbye and spread the news.


Does Age Matter?

Should every social media manager be under 25? Should they be 37.5 years or older? I think it is easy to forget, and in the articles regarding this topic, people seemed to forget a lot. The initial article and the follow-ups are almost angry, like the authors forgot that they all do the same job. The older social media managers claim that the young ones are irresponsible, and the younger ones claim that the older ones are out of the loop. 


Personally, I initially agreed with Cathryn Sloane’s article, “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25.” As a college student a little younger than Ms. Sloane, I found myself in the same boat as her. I did grow up with Twitter, and Facebooking comes second nature to me. After reading her article, I was completely convinced that every social media manager should be under 25 years of age. As a college student, this article almost gave me hope that I could find a job upon graduation.  


Ms. Thomases of on the other hand came off incredibly snarky. Her article title “Social Media: Don’t Put an Intern in Charge,” was frankly very rude. She opens her article by saying “Pardon the generalization,” which is like saying no offense before openly insulting someone. This summer, I was an intern at WXRT-FM, a radio station in Chicago that has been around for 40 years. That is twice my age. Yet even as a “lowly” intern, I was allowed to write articles and blog posts for their website, and post them myself. While I was not allowed to tweet from the account myself, I did write the tweets that accompanied my articles, and guess what? My articles and tweets brought traffic to the website, meaning I was not completely incompetent.


Maybe at 20 years old, I am not ready to manage social media for a company. But in three years, I might be. As Lauren Rothering put it in her article “Why Millennials Should Handle Your Social Media,” age does not directly translate to maturity. Just because I am in college does not mean that I am out doing kegstands Thursday through Sunday, or that I constantly abbreviate phrases to three or four letters. 


While I no longer agree that all social media managers should be under 25 years old, I do think that the majority of them should be, or at least under 30. From my personal and professional experiences, they seem to best handle social media. However there are exceptions. Brands are different. They target different people, and their social media managers may be a reflection of that. And that is something I am completely understanding of. There are 65 year olds who know much more about tweeting than I do, and they know what their audience wants to hear. And I am willing to give those 65 year olds a chance. I just wish Ms. Thomases was also willing to give us millennials a chance. Especially without her condescending tone.