Tag Archives: social media

To Social or Not to Social? That is the Question


A millennial computer scientist writing in in The New York Times advises more people to quit social media before it hurts their careers. Cal Newport offers several reasons for his opinion.

First, he points out that keeping social media accounts current and relevant can take an inordinate amount of time, whether that means reposting a viral article or coming up with a clever new hashtag. Becoming part of this never-ending cycle of posting and reposting takes time away from the real way to grow a career—by achieving excellence, Newport says.

Next he shoots down the argument that social media networks are a necessary part of today’s workplace because they can give rise to new opportunities. Newport argues that becoming an expert at what you do leads to opportunities, not networking relentlessly.

Finally, Newport points to the addictive nature of social media as the root of distraction, which takes away from producing good work.

Not long after Newport’s column ran, the director of digital communications and social media at the job site Monster wrote a response advocating social media as a necessary tool for careers. Patrick Gillooly notes that the platforms themselves have created millions of jobs in the emerging field of social media management. Moreover, he says that employers want to see job applicants’ social media sites, and therefore they can be an excellent way to extend an individual’s résumé. What’s more important, Gillooly adds, is that being invisible on social media could raise a red flag to a future employer.

Gillooly says social platforms provide a great way to learn about a field. Ignoring what’s being said on social media is to be excluded from relevant discussions. However, he advises using social platforms “thoughtfully and deliberately.”


  1. What can you do now to take Gillooly’s advice and build a meaningful social media presence that will help advance your career?
  1. How can you heed Newport’s advice and create work product that is your best advertisement of your skills and readiness for the workplace?
  1. In which ways can you prevent social media from becoming a “black hole” for your time?


Case Study: Bakery Owners Get Burned on Social Media

Businesses large and small are turning to social media to expand their customer bases and to garner attention. However, not all attention is good attention, especially when businesspeople show poor judgment.

Samy and Amy Bouzaglo

Samy and Amy Bouzaglo

Such was the case with Amy’s Baking Company and Bakery Boutique + Bistro in Scottsdale, Arizona. The restaurant, owned by husband and wife Samy and Amy Bouzaglo, had received negative notices on social media. Subsequently, Chef Gordon Ramsay visited the bistro to feature it on Kitchen Nightmares. During filming, he found much to criticize, and neither of the Bouzaglos took Ramsay’s criticism well. An altercation took place between the celebrity chef and the restaurant owners, and Ramsay and his crew left when Amy told Ramsay they “don’t need his help.” The show aired and resulted in an onslaught of negative posts on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

In response, the Bouzaglos reacted with venom, posting the following:

You are all little punks. Nothing. you are all nothing. We are laughing at you. All of you, just fools. We have God on our side, you just have your sites.

You are trash.

I am not stupid, all of you are.

Your task. Review the discussion of social media in your textbook (Essentials of Business Communication 10e Chapter 5; Business Communication: Process and Product 8e, Chapter 8). Working in small groups, discuss what the Bouzaglos did wrong. Then rewrite the posts using positive language and bridge-building strategies.

Suggested responses 

We urge you to visit the restaurant yourselves to see just how wrong Chef Ramsay was. Be sure to try Amy’s delicious desserts!! Your taste buds will thank you!

It’s never easy to hear criticism and we definitely blew it with Chef Ramsay. Come judge the restaurant for yourself. We’re offering a free dessert to the first 100 who visit  Amy’s within the next week!

How did your students do with this exercise? Share their responses!

6 Tips for Writing Social Media Business Messages

shutterstock_297304127_SEPTWriting well for any medium requires understanding its conventions and using language that achieves the text’s purpose. This can be especially challenging when writing for social media, where the temptation to react quickly can lead to sloppy, ineffective, or downright damaging responses.

When writing social media for an organization, follow these tips.

  • Use a natural, casual tone. Social media is all about starting a conversation with your audience, so avoid stuffy-sounding language. Try to make your voice sound as if you are talking to a friend.
  • Be concise. Avoid rants or long arguments. If you have more to say, guide readers to a link that contains a more in-depth explanation.
  • Encourage action. The whole point of social media is to persuade followers to do something, so use your concise message to link to a video, an article, or conversation. Rely on action verbs.
  • Get personal. Use personal pronouns.  By writing “you” and “I,” you are using the kind of language that makes social media a conversation, even if you have thousands of followers.
  • Play with punctuation. While traditional business communication avoids exclamation points and demands strict adherence to grammar, social media allow you to have a little leeway. To show emphasis, use ALL CAPS or non-standard punctuation such as “!!!!” But don’t overdo it.
  • Edit. To make sure your words will not be misinterpreted, edit them carefully. Also edit so that you do not embarrass your employer (or yourself) by not catching serious grammatical errors.

Classroom Discussion Questions

1. What are some writing strategies you can use to make your social media messages sound casual without sounding unprofessional?

2. Why is it a good idea to pose questions to a social media audience?

3. Why do you think experts say editing social media posts requires more editing than formal writing?

 –From grammarly.com