Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I Love Social Media

When I look at memes to the right, I can only think that they were made by technology-fearing old people. I know they're not, but when some people bitch and moan about "kids these days always on their damn phones" and how everyone is looking at a phone and tapping a screen, I tend to disagree with them. I'm one of those always-connected people. My phone is typically within visible range at all times, or in my pocket. Or my hand. My phone delivers my emails to me from my university, messages from my mother, texts from my friends, calls from my brother when he's drunk and waxing a bit maudlin. I love my phone. People who know me in real life know that I'm kind of shy, I take time to warm up to people and in general have a hard time making friends. So when people want to say that social media culture, Internet culture is ruining how we interact with each other, I'm going to heartily disagree with them.

I made a new friend today, all thanks to social media. It started with getting a follow on Twitter, then an exchange of tweets. Then realizing we had some stuff in common. This is what is wonderful and special about the Internet and social media. I remember back in the early 2000's when I first started using the Internet. One of the first places I visited was a Yahoo chatroom, where I made friends with people from all over. Then I moved on to message boards, where I made some long-lasting friendships on a Wicca/Paganism board. I still interact with those people to this day.

So fast forward to present time. Thanks to Facebook, I can keep in touch with my brother in Canada. I can keep up with my old college roommate and her adventures. I can see how my friends from computer club are and share their happiness and successes. I can network with former coworkers. And speaking of networking, via LinkedIn, I can keep my resume updated and build a network of professional connections. I can search jobs, and see how my old coworkers are doing professionally. If I want makeup inspiration, I turn to Instagram and Youtube, which is also a wealth of information for other things; I've often used it for Excel tutorials when I need to see how things are laid out. When I want quick updates on a celebrity, I turn to Twitter. In fact, I have gained a ton of admiration and respect for a band that is easily becoming my second favorite band of all time (Tool will always be number one) because of their interactivity with fans on social media. It's probably a huge time sink for them, but in turn they have an incredibly loyal fanbase. And you know what? I discovered that band when someone I follow on Instagram posted a picture of the lead singer and I got curious. If not for that, I probably wouldn't have discovered them.

Before  you judge someone for staring at their phone, ask yourself-- are they Skyping a family member oversea? Are they getting updates on a friend? Are they looking for a job or applying to school? Smartphones connect us in a way we have never been connected before, and social media enhances that experience by creating a global community. 20 years ago I would never have thought I'd have friends all over the world that were a Kik message or Facebook post away. If you told me then that I'd be able to talk to my brother in Canada for free through a social media app, I wouldn't have believed you. Sure, there's a lot of oversaturation of media that does come from social media and the Internet, and Pinterest culture has lead to a lot of people with identical tattoos (I won't rant about my loathing for Pinterest today, but that's one social media platform I don't use) but I feel the good outweighs the bad. As a global society, social media has given us insight into the plight of the peoples of other nations, social injustices and victories. Social media has brought us all together in a wonderful, beautiful way.

If you're interested in my social media presence, I'll pop some links below. Facebook is private but all else I welcome followers. All the links should open in new windows/tabs.

Instagram
Twitter
Tumblr
YouTube (there's not much on there)
Yelp
And of course, you're already on my blog, so I needn't post that. :)

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