By: Alexandra Farrell
Our world today revolves around the Internet. Without its invention, our planet would be an entirely different place, and much of the progress that has been made in the last two decades would not have been possible. Furthermore, the Internet has been vital to the field of Public Relations, especially in the form of social media, which has opened a whole new world of promotion, publicity and customer relations. These benefits of social media are undeniable, but those who use it in that way are seemingly a minority in the Internet world. Is there a point where these new forms of social media go too far and impact the lives of the American public in a negative way?
Take, for example, the recent case of actress, pop singer, and Twitter enthusiast Miley Cyrus. She recently deleted her Twitter account, causing an uproar among her fans and social commentators, who felt that this deletion of her Twitter page was a disloyalty to her fan base. Miley retorted these claims by saying that her constant tweeting had eroded away what little privacy the superstar had enjoyed. In another celebrity-related example, “Scrubs” star Zach Braff recently combated a viral internet rumor that he had committed suicide, when in reality he was perfectly healthy and safe. On a more personal level, social media is frequently used by kids, teens, and even many adults, to spread rumors and hatred about their friends and colleagues. On Penn State’s campus, it is common to see students updating their Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the day via their cell phones. Young people need to be more aware of the different types of way in which social media can be used. Not only can a college student use Facebook to display photos of a party from last weekend, they can use it to network with potential employers. In addition to following Lindsay Lohan and Taylor Swift on Twitter, students can follow leading Public Relations firms, and participate in PR-related discussions. It is important to emphasize the professional benefits of social media on campus and among all young people, rather than just its ability to be a forum for gossip and mindless posting.