Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Eyes one the prize, or rather their phones

By Kristine Giurcio 

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y.− When we think of social media, we tend to think of millions of tweets being sent out, Instagram photos being posted for everyone in the world to see, and possibly even RSVPing to Facebook events. Social media has become integral to our society for people of all generations. Have we ever thought of social media in a more productive way? Is it possible we have overlooked the many ways social media has changed our businesses, education, and overall lifestyle?
Christina Cottone, a senior at Beekmantown High School, said she likes the opportunities growing up with social media has granted her.
“One of my classes did a semester long project where we had to pick a topic and E-mail businesses about their products. I picked to research pretzels, so I talked to Auntie Anne’s, Utz, and many other pretzel companies,” Cottone said.
The project that Cottone and other students were given was to teach them that this generation was given the outlet that we utilize each day, known as social media and the Internet.
“We sent out around ten e-mails to different companies and the feedback was surprising to me. While writing to them, we basically just complimented their products and acted interested. One company sent me 8 bags of free pretzels. Other companies sent coupons and informational books,” Cottone said. “It was unexpected, I didn’t think they would even read what I wrote.”
Cottone said she thinks of social media in a different light after this assignment. She said she thinks that her teacher proved her point that the access to the internet can be used for more than creating online profiles for other people her age to see.
Colleen Kallop, a junior at SUNY Plattsburgh, also found social media to be beneficial to her education process.
“I have a lot of friends who I can’t even have a conversation with without pulling them away from their phones, which is annoying. I use social media but only during my free time and not as much as the average person my age,” Kallop said. “I like using it though. Facebook has a lot of do it yourself videos that I follow a lot.”
Kallop said that she believes that social media has helped her get assignments done and communicate with other students taking the same classes as her.
“For one of my psychology classes we have a group chat app where we ask each other questions on every assignment. It’s beneficial for me to hear how other people in my class interpret the questions we are asked, because sometimes I find myself unsure of what I’m doing,” Kallop said.
Karin Buck, a SUNY Plattsburgh alumna, said that she thinks she owes everything to social media.
“When I didn’t reach my full degree requirements, I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to get a stable and consistent job. People in our society put this emphasis on having a college degree but in reality, a degree doesn’t secure your future either,” Buck said.
Creating a Linkedin profile helped to set up Buck’s future endeavors. Linkedin is a social networking site specifically for the business community. The objective of the site is to aid  members in establishing professional relationships with employers and colleagues that they trust. The former Plattsburgh student had the profile for only 6 months before an employer contacted her.
“I don’t know if anything would have worked out the way I wanted if I didn’t land a job through Linkedin. I don’t know where I would be working or living right now,” Buck said.
Buck recently moved to Washington, DC, to work for an organization called Student Veterans of America.
“People, especially older generations, look down on people constantly on their phones. I just feel like social media was a positive thing for me and it can be for everyone else too! People are just using it for the wrong things,” Buck said. “We should take advantage of being able to communicate with people across the world and mostly anyone we want for that matter.”
As well as Buck, Suzanne Denig, a Plattsburgh community member, utilizes a bulk of her social media accounts for business purposes. As a mother of 3 teenagers, Denig often works from the comfort of her own home as a tax agent.
“Everything I do in the office, I can also do sitting in my living room on my Ipad. I talk to clients all day long through all different accounts that they prefer using, I have them all,” Denig said. “More along the lines of professional communication such as, Linked-In and Email. You won’t find me on Facebook seizing any businesses.”
Utilizing access to the internet allows Denig to be a part-time stay at home mother for her 3 children.
“You can’t put a price on time with your family but, for me it doesn’t matter because I get paid the same while having my husband and children 8 feet away from me,” Denig said.

It’s easy to see all the negatives that social media has caused in our society. Although, many Plattsburgh community members are not blind to all the endless possibilities that it has created for us.

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