Ntini Edwards – Jamaica

  • May 12, 2020 at 1:40 pm #2619
    Huong Nguyen

    KECTIL Assignment 2

    Ntini Edwards

    Social Media & Personal Branding

    May 8, 2020

    A. Influence of Social Media on Youth
    Social Media is a powerful tool and its use has become pervasive in recent times. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic social media has gained even more importance and popularity due to the need to remain connected while distant. Despite the aim of social media being to connect people, those who spend a lot of time ‘glued to their screens’ often end up depressed. With very limited censoring and much adherence to free speech rights, anything can be shared on these platforms; cybercrimes may be committed and often ignored. Additionally, the ‘click bait’ or ‘scroll bait’ found on these platforms reduce productivity when one allows him/herself to become engrossed in the content produced.

    1. Tools only gain purpose in the hands of their users and so it is with social media. In Jamaica and my community, Gibraltar, youth utilise social media platforms for various purposes. These range from the most innovative and helpful to the very heinous. Despite having knowledge of several instances of cyber bullying, only one comes to the forefront of my mind, an individual who most certainly did not deserve the harsh criticisms they received. The situation was not handled and the individual found it difficult to cope with at first. In Jamaica, it is not strange to meet YouTubers while out in public or even in your classroom. I have several peers who are social media influencers or have businesses which operate primarily by social media following. It is however, noteworthy that many young people on social media are very unproductive. It is often said that we must be the change we want to see and young people can definitely create the social media feed they want. Sharing links to motivational or educational pages, following successful individuals, acting as online mentors or creating podcasts are some of the ways young leaders are changing the social media landscape. Becoming content creators and digital activists are also ways to spread positive messages. It is all in our hands. We hold the tools.

    2. Many young people develop a serious attachment to their devices, especially to their smartphones. After all, how else do we stay connected with the world? Every beep or buzz is a signal that something very important is happening and we need to be the first to know. Someone without an electronic device, even at the primary (elementary) school level is considered peculiar. The social media addiction is real. With trending hashtags and challenges, meme pages and giveaways, it is no wonder that the goal of many teens is to be YouTube, Instagram or Tik Tok famous. This results in many hours being spent creating content and trying to gain followers. The effects of social media addiction may be as devastating as that of alcohol or drugs. Without an hourly social media fix many young people are unable to find anything to discuss or even a way to relate to their families and peers. Life away from the screen is too dull to be liveable. With almost everyone staying indoors nowadays, social media viewership has peaked and will continue until the end of the pandemic. Nevertheless, this problem can be mitigated if not fully solved. Parents can designate device free sessions to spend with their children and encourage them to find stimulating experiences in the real world. When we turn away from our screens, we may be surprised at what we discover.

    3. Self-control or temperance is an important trait to develop and the use of social media requires much self-control. Even inspirational content can become engrossing and distract users from their daily tasks. One may intend to spend half-an-hour online and after following a thread or scrolling through an account, 2 or maybe more hours have passed, one video automatically plays after the other and all the time is lost. As humans have become more socially awkward or less sociable, losing oneself in social media is a replacement for time which would otherwise be employed in actual discussions. On the other hand, if your business operates mainly through social media, a strong online presence is a necessity. In such cases, the time spent may actually be productive.

    4. The campaign period is a time of much concern, criticism and promises. Politicians have been known to use social media to seem more connected to their constituents. Persons can direct their questions to the personal page of a member of parliament and have it answered. Those who are more active on social media may amass greater public support. However, in Jamaica, people tend to be more dedicated to a party rather than a person. Facebook is still widely used by Jamaicans and feeds are often interspersed with fake news. Whatsapp is another tool used to share fake news. In times of crisis it is not unusual to see spikes in the number of fake reports or messages being sent. Often these are broadcasted by adults and elderly persons who have not fact-checked the articles. These include many articles about the ‘true nature of the coronavirus’, ‘how to cure the virus’, ‘new versions of whatsapp’ among others. Often, influential supporters of opposing parties spread propaganda or use social media to attack politicians. This either deters young voters from choosing a side or sways public opinion. No social media networks have been shut down or censored in Jamaica. Users tend to use their discretion to report accounts with very explicit or unlawful content and allow the site owners to shut down individual profiles.
    5. Different social media influencers tend to have different effects on their audience, based on the content they produce. Some are strictly focused on entertainment, some on business and education while others provide a mix of both. Comedians often engage in satirical performances while others complete challenges, recreate viral videos or start trends with catchphrases. Other influencers tend to host various forums – online and in person- share motivational quotes and videos. Individuals like Terri-Karelle Reid, Yaneek Page, Tami Chin, Nicole McLaren Campbell and Kristofferson Nunes have a large following and share positive information influencing youth to be goal, business or family oriented. Younger influencers tend to post a mixture of content some of which has a negative effect on users. This content is usually very sexual, encouraging promiscuity or contains many expletives. These include Jada Kingdom or Trabass.
    6. There are many positive role models in Jamaica. For instance, most media personnel tend to use their platform for good as do student leaders across the island. Social media acts as a way to promulgate their message reaching a much wider audience than these people would have been able to reach otherwise. I would like to see more youth who have overcome great odds sharing their experience with others. In order to contribute to this I can share links to the pages of these individuals and start initiatives to highlight them.
    7. I do not share the belief that social media leads to narcissism. On the contrary, it bolsters narcissistic personalities. It is all dependent on how one uses social media. There are options to turn off commenting on posts and many pages are run by unknown parties. It is all dependent on the content. However, in the case where social media is used to gain attention this can lead to a loss of authenticity. A person’s online personality may be quite different from their true personality; as such it can put pressure on the individual who is leading a double life. Readers can often be dragged into cycles of depression when their lives do not match up the luxurious and exciting displays online. While their social media posts may not reflect it, readers may try to emulate these individuals and struggle to appreciate their lives which are relatively dull and ‘insignificant’. Despite the efforts of some to reveal how anyone can create a seemingly happy and affluent social media personality, many continue trying to achieve the unattainable.
    8. Introspection is very important. Individuals must be able to honestly assess their habits and lifestyle and the effects these have on the quality of their lives. When one is able to identify areas which require improvement it will be easier for them to make changes or seek the needed assistance. It is indeed possible for youth to be disciplined enough to limit their social media time. If they are unable to do so on their own, many devices have features which limit screen time and send notifications, similar apps are also available for download in the various app stores. Youth can also recruit their friends or a trusted person to help them keep track of their time. Additionally, a stimulating productive activity should be used to substitute for the time, for example sports, art or graphic design. Individuals who can honestly critique themselves can make the necessary adjustments to their behaviours.
    9. Many of the pages I follow often contain opportunities for scholarships, grants and educational programs. As a result, I have been able to share these notifications with others who fit the requirements or are interested in the area. I was introduced to KECTIL through a social media advertisement and can proudly say the experience so far has been rewarding. Finally, the government often launches social media campaigns regarding national issues. For instance, to raise awareness about the dangers of consuming sugary substances when childhood obesity rates increased or to share the UNICEF’s youth reporting initiative. Social media can indeed be used to effect positive change.

    B. Personal Branding
    2. The image I want to portray is that of someone confident, responsible, trustworthy, kind and efficient. I believe I live up to this to some extent. I have often been told I have a powerful/assertive voice and that I speak well. I tend to dress simply and comfortably and keep my nails short. My hair is not always as neat as I would like it to be, however, this is an area which I am trying to improve. My body language is another area which I think needs improvement. I try to practice proper posture, and to be aware of my gestures and facial expressions. However, I have been deemed naïve and nervous when approached by strangers.

    a. If interviewing a youth candidate for an entry level position several factors would be considered. The time of arrival would affect their viability. They would also need to appear reliable, trustworthy, humble, prepared and have some level of authority/confidence. Some knowledge of the position would be required, however, a willingness and ability to learn quickly would be highly appreciated characteristics.

    b. When giving an oral presentation with the aid of a power point, be mindful of the amount of content on the slides. The most important points should be selected and summarized to limit distractions. Additionally, the background of the slides should be simple in style and colour to enable readability. The presenter should be familiar with the content and try to address new information if the topic has been previously discussed or well-researched. They should also try to keep the presentation short and concise. Finally, plagiarism is strictly prohibited.

    c. As an employer, I would check the social media pages of potential employees. This would act as a measure of their character, interests and beliefs. Any content which is opposing the vision and mission of the organization would act as deterrents. This includes unlawful actions, sharing pornographic or explicit content, evidence of cybercrimes and similar actions.

    C. Panel Discussion
    1. Dr. Primack’s study identified a positive correlation between negative social media experiences and depression. It was concluded that more negative experiences on social media outweighed the positive experiences. It was also discovered that while positive experiences reduce depression or lead to positive emotions, it was by a far lesser percentage. As a result, it is being proposed that more positive experiences will vastly improve the effects. If individuals view less negative content unwittingly or by searching for it deliberately, social media will accomplish more good.

    Report on Discussion about social media
    The discussion was held with males and females who shared varying views on the questions presented. The majority of respondents considered social media to be a cause of depression among youth. This is generally due to the variety of content presented. One respondent thought the content may cause viewers to feel inadequate, especially where social media tends to define beauty standards. The wide audience with differing personalities, cultures etc. may also affect interactions. There was a differing opinion that the effect of social media depends on one’s personality as this will determine the content to which they are exposed. Also, if alarming content is viewed it may not weigh too much on the individual’s emotions.
    It was generally agreed that cyberbullying can be described as using the internet to “attack” people’s character/ personality to make them feel inferior. This may spill over into everyday life as content is broadcasted. In some case, a situation in a particular school environment may wind up on a popular gossip page.
    The panelists concurred that how social media affects the lives of users is due mainly to how they use the platforms. This is a combination of pages followed and other interests. When content is receiving much interaction it is more likely that one may end up ‘page-hopping’ and spending more time than intended.

    Thoughts on KECTIL rules for social media use
    For the most part the rules were considered practical and participants were willing to share the rules with others to encourage safe and productive use of social media. It was agreed that language should be tempered so that it is not offensive but still takes a stance when things are going wrong. In relation to promoting oneself on social media, it was a popular sentiment that celebrities should try to use their platform to amass greater support for important issues so they can make a difference.
    Then panelists agreed that social media is addictive. Much time can be lost before you realize especially when entertainment is the main focus. 2 hours was considered a practical time limit if one alternates use of different platforms but maintains time limits. This is due to the multitude of available platforms and differences in operation and contents. The time could also be split throughout the day e.g. morning and evening or evening and night. Timeout apps or other technology could be used to monitor the time spent. This would still require some amount of discipline as many timeout apps offer the option to continue use despite the time limits.
    On the other hand, when faced with the question of encouraging spending time with actual persons (twice the time spent on social media) the issue of social awkwardness/anxiety or antisocial behavior was brought up. It was stated that some people have issues expressing themselves in person, maybe as a result of social media. One participant stated that social media distances users from the real world.
    The idea of being respectful and using devices at a specific time allows people to feel as though what they are saying is important or that you are interested. In regards to posts affecting one’s reputation, persons tend to highlight negatives so it is better to regulate content posted. Ensure your social media personality will not bring disgrace on yourself, current or future organization. Whatever is portrayed in photos will most likely generate a particular perspective of the individual in the photos. Additionally, how one responds to criticism or other online content which sparks anger can raise or lower the level of respect they receive. One ideal responder to critics in Jamaica is Krystal Tomlinson. Anger causes regrets – do not make permanent decisions for temporary emotions.
    If one truly wishes to make a change they can act anonymously or under the name of an organization without highlighting individuals. Using the names of individuals often gives the impression that the individual is being highlighted rather than the message unless this is done with tact. Some Jamaican influencers use comedy to encourage self-acceptance. While promoting their own brand this is also a good way to share a message.
    In order to avoid sharing fake news, it was advised that users use caution when sharing or reposting content. Also, grammatical errors can be quite distracting so posts should be read and re-read or proofread by another person to ensure that the message is not delivered properly. These were some of the general views shared by the panelists.

The forum ‘Assignment 2’ is closed to new topics and replies.