Alumni advise students about the importance of social media

CSUN alumni David Mascarina (Left), Karen Posner (Middle) and Paul Costa (Right) were the panel of social media experts for the event at the USU. Photo credit: Abigaelle Levray / Daily Sundial
CSUN alumni David Mascarina (Left), Karen Posner (Middle) and Paul Costa (Right) were the panel of social media experts for the event at the USU. Photo credit: Abigaelle Levray / Daily Sundial

A packed room at the University Student Union (USU) listened as a panel of CSUN alumni shared their knowledge of social media and its presence in their professional lives.

The “Noise of Social Media” event was hosted by the Career Center and the Alumni Association for the second year in a row. Last year, the event was hosted six times. This year, they intend on hosting 12.

Jonathan Adrias, program coordinator for the alumni association, said he hopes students will learn how to navigate and maintain different social media. Adrias added that students need to be well versed and able to use these sites with ease for future employment opportunities.

More than 120 attendees listened attentively to the advice and warnings the panelists offered regarding social media profiles.

Luis Lopez, a graduate student in the MBA Program, attended the seminar to get more insight for a research paper he is writing for his marketing and advertising class.

“I am completely unaware, barely know how to use Facebook,” Lopez said. “I have no knowledge of Flickr, Twitter, (or) any of that.”

Paul Costa, one of the panelists who graduated in 1996, is the president of Direct Hire Associates, LLC. Costa said he uses social media primarily as a tool to get a conversation started and it is also a way show the world who the company is and what it does. Costa added that the more professional credibility students can build online, the more relationships can be built with clients in real life.

The "Noise of Social Media" audience raised their hands when panelist David Mascarina, a CSUN alumn, asked who uses social media websites.  Photo credit: Abigaelle Levray / Daily Sundial
The “Noise of Social Media” audience raised their hands when panelist David Mascarina, a CSUN alumn, asked who uses social media websites. Photo credit: Abigaelle Levray / Daily Sundial

Alumnus David Mascarina, who graduated in 2010, is now working as a web administrator for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.

“(Social media) is my first line of defense,” Mascarina said. “People tweet or post on Facebook what they like and what they don’t like.”

Mascarina also emphasized that social media is viral marketing.

“Billion-dollar social media companies attain their revenue because of your tweets (and posts), to sell ads, targeted at you,” Mascarina said.

He explained to attendees that when they or someone they know posts about a product or ‘likes’ it, ads will begin to pop up not only for that product, but for products similar to it as well. Down to the zip code of the social media user, certain ads will be sent out based on the common buys of that area, Mascarina said.

“I’ve been coming to the past few seminars to get advice from professionals on social media etiquette,” said Jennifer Ramos, a CSUN 2002 Alumnae with a degree in CTVA, “ I’m in the process of a career change and am realizing that the game has changed. I have to have more background in social media and marketing.”

Karen Posner, a 2007 CSUN graduate, is now working as a project manager for ReachLocal Inc. Posner said she uses social media on a daily basis — from the moment she wakes to the moment she rests, she checks her social media. Personally and professionally, Posner said social media is completely intertwined in her life.

Posner reminded the audience that social media is online, meaning it is public and anyone can see it.

“You are portraying yourself and need to think about what image you are trying to show,” Posner said. “Stay consistent.”

Costa said a past candidate for employment who was otherwise qualified was not hired because of a Facebook post created by a person with an indirect relationship to the candidate. This shows the importance of being mindful and aware of the disadvantages these sites hold, Posne r said.