5 Social Media Myths That It's Time to Put to Rest

Have you seen this statistic from the Pew Internet and American Life Project's Social Networking research report?

As of September 2013, 73% of online adults use social networking sites.

Regardless of whether you're using social media to keep in touch with friends and family, play games, follow the news, or research goods and services, most of us are logging into these sites multiple times a day. Statistical research has revealed that more than 95 percent of Facebook users log into their account every day. The same number for Twitter is 60 percent and for LinkedIn is 30 percent.

And as with all new technologies, there's a learning curve, and an even steeper curve of understanding before we truly comprehend the impact of social networking. And while we are at the bottom of the social networking curve of understanding, there are five myths that need to be put to rest now.

  1. Twitter is about nothing but what people had for breakfast
    That might have been true for the first six months of Twitter, but we've moved past it. News organizations and celebrities are the most followed accounts, but the virality of Twitter means that anyone can start a trend. Two examples? Arab Spring and the Boston Marathon bombing — both hit the world consciousness via Twitter. Breakfast? Not any more.
  2. No one cares what personal stuff I post; my privacy settings will protect me.
    So there's trusting, and there's foolishly naive. How much do you pay for your Facebook account? Nothing? Well, no, actually you do pay — with your data. Your likes, dislikes, opinions, friends, religious affiliation, political affiliation and more are all tracked, stored and shared. As long as you are aware that you are paying with your data, you can be circumspect about what you say. But to count on your information to remain unused and unshared with advertisers, is well, Pollyannish at best. Every day we hear about another data breach. Your social media data is not immune to hacking.
  3. Recruiters / hiring companies don't pay any attention to this stuff.
    Yes, actually they do. According to this survey by Reppler, 92% of recruiters admit to checking out and screening out applicants based on their profiles on social networking sites. For more information, read my blog post, Think Before You Post: Your Digital Footprint Lives Forever.
  4. Googling yourself is narcissistic.
    No, it's really not. It's smart. See #3 above.
  5. Social media is a fad that won't last.
    Will today's social networking platforms look the same in five years? Unlikely. As with all technologies, they will mature, users will mature, and the platforms and how we use them will evolve. The proliferation of smart phones and the millennials' comfort level with sharing their lives online essentially guarantees that the social media genie will not go back into its bottle.
So why don't we let these five most pervasive myths about social media rest in peace. Of course, additional myths are created and perpetuated every day. Which additional ones would you like to see disappear?