Social media spurs controversy


Networking – the practice of developing new relationships for later opportunities – has never been unfamiliar with FAMU, what with its career fairs, celebrity-attended events and numerous “social gatherings.” In networking there is a concept called “personal brand,” which has people develop an image to “package” to others as a way to make sure they have as much broad appeal as possible.


It’s a concept that’s been around for centuries, but students have made it their own in the past decade, using word-of-mouth and social media to not only develop relationships, but to create and market events that take place on campus. A number of students have even made small businesses dedicated solely to using social media to further any potential opportunities.


FAMU’s students have had a huge role in developing how information is relayed to themselves and the world. As such, FAMU’s students also have a responsibility with the school’s public relations and making sure it’s viewed in the best possible light.


This means students have to make sure what they say regarding FAMU, its faculty, its programs, its meetings and any other extension, is diplomatic and measured.


As stated before, students have used social media like Twitter to an alarming degree to make people aware of different events and issues involving themselves and the school. People have also used it as a medium to host a number of complaints, not all of which – if you can believe – are very civil.


These types of comments can be discouraging to a number of students who feel very passionately about FAMU and can create a hostile environment if students make personal comments about an organization within the school.


More than that though, these comments can cause irreversible harm to the school’s – and by extension, the students’ – personal brand.


We live in a world where everyone has constant tabs on everyone else, and if everyone sees enough negativity surrounding FAMU, people will be less willing to give the school and its students the benefit of the doubt. Instead of an Ivy League reputation, students will be viewed with disdain from the general public.


This is not to say people shouldn’t express their concerns when it comes to FAMU. In fact, a concern of mine is that students are doing too much to “advertise” FAMU and its events, without a lot of regulation from school officials.


However, it’s imperative that we treat every complaint, and even every compliment, with an even-hand, making sure the school is viewed with the maturity and intelligence that we’ve come to expect of ourselves.