Small talk. While it’s the bane of most people’s existence, I weirdly enjoy it.
I like talking to complete strangers sometimes. Even though every conversation starts of seemingly the same (give or take), I find it fascinating how a conversation twists and turns depending on who you’re talking to.
Being that I moved to a new state 9 months ago, I find myself caught up in small talk a lot. After telling people I’m from Pennsylvania, I’m always asked why I moved here.
“For work,” I reply.
“Oh, what do you do?” they ask.
“I work at a digital marketing agency,” I say. Depending on the look on their face, I’ll follow up with something along the lines of how I work primarily in social media marketing.
This is when things get interesting. The conversation usually goes one of three ways:
- The person knows what that is, and thinks I have a “cool” job.
- The person has no idea what social media marketing means, but pretends to.
- The person thinks social media is stupid.
I know what you’re thinking – no one would dare to tell someone his or her career is stupid. To that I say you’d be surprised. While I haven’t had anyone outright tell me that what I do is “stupid”, I’ve had people tell me that the basis of my career is. I had no idea how much hostility some people have towards social media until I started telling people about the role it plays in my life.
I’m on social media all day, every day. it’s a huge part of my life. I’m constantly checking my personal accounts, brand pages, competitors’ whereabouts, etc. Unfortunately for me, I’ve found people can be judgmental of my digital lifestyle.
You see, social media carries a stigma. A stigma that only self-absorbed, attention-seeking individuals indulge in it daily. People are constantly buried in their phones, and social media is always part of the reason behind it. Social media is seen by many as a waste of time, something that is tearing apart society. For some, social media is ruining relationships, destroying friendships, and even brainwashing us with relentless advertising. With social media, everything is out in the open, and privacy as we once knew it is a thing of the past.
Therefore, when I tell people I work in social media marketing, I find that some have a “yikes” moment. Again, not everyone has this reaction, but some people do.
Usually those people will hit me with something along the lines of, “Oh that’s cool… Wait, so you’re just like, on Facebook all day?”
Face palm. Then I know I have explaining to do. I explain the gist of it, and then the conversation turns…
“I don’t use social media. I think it’s stupid and a waste of time.”
Yes. I’ve actually been told that.
Every time someone directly or indirectly tells me how much they dislike social media, I die a little bit inside – not because I want everyone to love it or use it, but because I know that they genuinely don’t understand my career. They’re indirectly telling me that my decision is a bad one, and I don’t appreciate it in the slightest.
Sometimes I’ll fight back, and when I say fight, I mean explain what I do in a different way, or explain how social media can be beneficial. But more often than not, I find myself disappointed.
The stigma that surrounds social media undeniably has impacted people to change their habits. Hell, many people have stopped using personal social media applications / websites altogether. And that’s fine – that’s their decision.
But choosing to work in social media marketing is my decision, and I’m extremely content with it. Using social media from a personal standpoint doesn’t mean I’m self-absorbed, or seeking attention online. The stigmas associated with social media are what we make of them. For every “bad” thing social media has done, it has done something great, and I think we tend to discredit that.
Interconnectedness. Maintaining relationships. Making friends. Communicating instantly.
Entertainment. Creating new content. Engaging and interacting with content. Sharing content with each other.
Knowledge. Information at our fingertips. Giving and receiving advice and recommendations.
So to everyone who thinks my career is stupid, I don’t need to prove anything to you. At least you can count on me not blow up your newsfeed, because I know it’s not best practice to do so 🙂