Jacqueline Cisneros, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2015 Mass Communication Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the following essay in response to the prompt: "After 10 years of living in the rainforest with no Internet connection, your childhood best friend moves to Los Angeles to attend college. As expected, she realizes she has a lot to learn about modern day city life and asks you to help her get acclimated. You agree and start with the basics: driving a car, getting a job, and—of course—using social media. What social media platform is essential for her to get plugged into and which platform do you encourage her to steer clear from?”
After spending a decade in the rainforest, I would definitely recommend getting involved in the social media world to my childhood best friend. I would tell her the media platform she should get plugged into right away is LinkedIn. LinkedIn, in my opinion, offers the most practical and beneficial tools for college students looking for internships and jobs. Even if you are not on the hunt for a job or internship at that very second, it is important to keep tabs on professionals you want to keep in touch with or companies you aspire to work for. All the while, you can connect with your peers in a more professional setting and check on where they have been working. Landing a job is all about who you know and LinkedIn makes it easier to know a broader amount of professionals. She could also get a more social aspect out of it by sharing and creating content to post on the links. If she wants to write posts about her experience living in the rainforest, she definitely can do so and other people can like, comment or share it.
While I could debate that many social media platforms are worthless in the long run, I would say that Snapchat is the one she should stay far away from. Snapchat is the platform that users can send a picture to another user for a set amount of time, ranging from one second to 10 seconds, and then it disappears. The founders of Snapchat, who graduated from Stanford, allegedly created the application for sending and receiving inappropriate photos. People think they are safe to send such photos since they disappear after mere seconds, however, anyone receiving those pictures can take a screenshot and Snapchat headquarters most likely has access to every picture sent. Those pictures could turn up anywhere! I would make sure she steers clear of Snapchat because it is unnecessary and can waste too much precious time that she should use to explore what Los Angeles has to offer.
Social media ingrained itself in society to the point that everyone somehow takes part it it. Even though many could argue against the necessity of social media, it is clear that if one uses it to one’s advantage, it could help you more than it can harm you. After telling my friend which platforms to get on and avoid, I would also inform her of the safe practices of social media.
Jacqueline is a senior at Pepperdine University majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Marketing.
Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.