Faces Behind Facebook

By Kimberly Bowker (instructor)

Relationships are at the core of social media – it’s not just facebook, but the faces behind facebook. It’s the people who are looking at the screen and interacting in a virtual community. The ones writing, the ones pushing send, the ones creating a conversation.

Today in #MM393J, we discussed what it means to cultivate healthy relationships both online and in our physical world. Not surprisingly, the values are the same: honesty, openness, trust, transparency, communication, respect and, of course, you have to have a little fun too.

Social media brings us to the edge of future technology, but in doing so it requires us to look back to the basics of networking. By cultivating the humanity behind social media, relationships can prosper online, whether between businesses or people.

Dave Kerpen writes, in our textbook Likeable Social Media, that “…it’s the new personalization of the Web that matters most in the social media revolution, both to companies and consumers.” Kerpen continues to explain that facebook is an ideal platform for word of mouth marketing. If a trusted friend recommends something on social media, you are also more likely to “like” or support it.

During this course, we will explore different values fostered in strong relationships, and we will learn how to apply these to social media.

As the famous German writer Hermann Hesse said, “It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is.”

We can do that face to face, or now screen to screen.


*Image courtesy of suphakit73/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. Building a healthy relationship is key in online media, but I think maintaining the relationship is even more important. It’s easy to hear things over the media but clients need to basically be at a one-on-one level with the company or they might feel overlooked and stop trusting the them. As we discussed the other day in class, it is the job of both client and company to listen to what is being said and develop ways to better communicate with each other in order for both parties to grow.

  2. Creating a strong and positive relationship with clients and potential customers is so crucial to social media today. I like the simple idea, that we should treat social media like a relationship, working on building trust and listening as we progress into the future with social media. I am very excited to see what else we learn throughout the semester.

  3. I think having a strong social media presence is extremely important in building positive and productive relationships with publics today. Social media is a valuable tool that allows us to work towards achieving the two-way symmetrical model of communication. (The fourth, and generally considered the most ideal and desired, model of communication created and defined by James Grunig and Todd Hunt in 1984). This model of communication has the main purpose of gaining a mutual understanding through two-way interaction with publics. Social media enables us to do this in so many different ways; Twitter hashtags, Facebook pages, etc.

    I found this YouTube video that creatively illustrates the importance of social media in the world today. It was created in 2012, so some of the facts are a little bit dated, but it definitely still hits the main points. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTNYzvJgPCg

    1. Effective communication is a fundamental part of any relationship. When we post to anyone and everyone in the blogosphere, on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever it is online, where people may or may not know you or want a relationship with you, how do we take care about what we put out there? How do we create the kind of presence we want to project?

      Having always considered myself a very private person, writing something that anyone can read is a little daunting and uncomfortable. It seems that it is not a problem with the latest generation that has grown up in the information age. But one of the issues I have found is that we are hampered by not being able to communicate with our body and face language. Nuance, tone and talking with hand gestures is a thing of the past with social media. Even with the help of emoticons we can still be misunderstood. Yet, If I want to have a social media presence I need to get over it and get started building effective relationships!

      I found this great article on social media etiquette if anyone needs a refresher, but can’t seem to link it for some reason (just another thing I’m learning about).


      Cindy Rose

      1. I am very glad you went in this direction, Cindy. I think it is so important to be aware of the things we post and comment on the internet. I see so many arguments and unprofessional statements that it just makes me very conscious of the things I put out there on my social profiles. It is a little odd, putting so much personal information on the internet, especially where most things are visible to the public eye, yes, but I also like the fact that anyone can make a statement or a movement and actually be “heard”. Good luck with your media presence!

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