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Speaker discusses positive social media usage

Friday, February 13, 2015


Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.Vice-president and program chair of the Friends of the Boardman Library Loretta Liptak introduced Dr. Adam Earnheardt before his presentation on positive social media.


Neighbors | Tim Cleveland.Dr. Adam Earnheardt of the Department of Creative Arts and Communications at Youngstown State University and a published author, gave a presentation at the Boardman library about positivity of social media usage.


As part of its monthly meeting, the Friends of the Boardman Library bring in a guest speaker on a variety of subjects. The most recent meeting on Jan. 12 at the Boardman library had as its speaker Dr. Adam Earnheardt of the Department of Creative Arts and Communication at Youngstown State University, who spoke about positivity in social media.

Dr. Earnheardt spoke for about 45 minutes followed by a question and answer session.

Earnheardt is the author of the books “The ESPN Effect: Exploring the Worldwide Leader in Sports,” and “Judging Athlete Behaviors – Exploring Possible Predictions of Television Viewer Judgments of Athlete Antisocial Behaviors.” His study of social media goes back a decade to when he first arrived at Youngstown State.

“I was a web master and a marketing director at another university [Clarion University of Pennsylvania] before I moved to Youngstown,” said Dr. Earnheardt, who earned his PhD in communications from Kent State. “When I was hired to teach at Youngstown, they hired me to develop courses in computer media and communication. The first classroom I walked into, my students were like, hey Dr. Earnheardt, you should check out this Facebook thing. It feels like forever ago, but it was just 10 years ago.

“That’s how I got started into it. I already had a familiarity with it, but that’s how I dove into it.”

Earnheardt said his presentation would focus on different ways for people to put a positive message out on social media.

“We’re going to start slow; I’m not sure what kind of audience I was going to have,” he said. “Getting people to think about how they would begin to use social media if they’re not using it already and try to give them some tips about that. Diving in to ways, strategies, for being positive social media users.

“For example, on Twitter, following other people who are positive, like leaders like Deepak Chopra and the Dalai Lama, and people like that, and re-tweeting their stuff and sharing their stuff with other people. Sharing positive photos, reinforcing that kind of behavior. Those are the kinds of things I’m going to talk about.”

Earnheardt added that there’s almost a “pack mentality” to social media, where a small group of people can spread a negative message very quickly.

“My angle is positivity in social media; we hear so much about the negative aspects of social media,” he said. “My function in all this is trying to get people to think positively about it, to post positive things, to reinforce that kind of behavior. I think when one person does it, it kind of spurs other people to want to do the same things and be more positive in social media, too.

“There’s a lot of research that shows this, too, that negativity begats negativity. When you’re making these anti-social rants about politics and religion and race and things like that, I think it’s easy for people to want to jump on the bandwagon and say, rah-rah, yeah. If you can find a way to turn those around and make them more positive, it makes the whole space more positive for other people.”

Friends of the Boardman Library vice-president and program chair Loretta Liptak said Earnheardt’s presentation would be a good one for the audience to listen to.

“I think because we’re all media people,” she said. “We watch TV, we have our iPads and our computers and everything like that, so any quick tips that would help us to filter out or deal with it in some way would be a real boon to everybody.”