My Personal Experience with Social Media
The first type of social media I ever used was LiveJournal when I was fifteen. Shortly thereafter came Myspace. Looking back, Myspace was a bit of a mess. Being able to find people you haven’t seen in a long time was a newfound feature that everyone had to experience, but because Tinder didn’t exist yet, many people took to finding people on Myspace to romance. Sharing pictures and creating a real internet-you was possible in a way it hadn’t been before, and it was really interesting to see how people marketed themselves—barring glitter graphics and terrible (blaring) music. However, I’m glad people don’t use it much anymore, and I wish Myspace would stop sending me my old pictures in emails. It’s creepy.
In 2007, my friend invited me to Facebook. I wasn’t affiliated with a university, but invites were then open. I didn’t share much on Facebook for years. I wasn’t an active user until 2008, when the bulk of my family created profiles. In 2009-2011, I used to Facebook to keep up with my friends through my military service. I used chat to talk to cousins and aunts who were many miles away. I deleted my Facebook profile in 2012. Again, in late 2012, I fell pregnant with my son, so my husband and I created a Facebook account for his family to be able to share in our pregnancy updates and, eventually, pictures of my son.
I didn’t create my own profile on Facebook again until the beginning of 2015. Now that I’ve been learning more about social media, I’ve opened accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and even YikYak.
How I Use Social Media
I feel like a bit of an outsider when it comes to my social media usage on a college campus, as I’m a bit older than my peers. Many of the students frequent Snapchat and Twitter and certainly use it much more than I do. Students also tend to use Facebook to share videos in lieu of actual life-updates, which is how I greatly differ from them. I prefer to interact with those on my friends list, when most college students care about sharing content. Conversely, I see many a grandmother commenting on Facebook and sharing Despicable Me graphics, eCards, motivational quotes, poorly sourced health and political articles, and completely un-funny videos. Grandmas’ comments are usually in all upper-case letters with no punctuation, if they even made it out of the status box and into a comment section at all.
The Pros and Cons of Social Media
According to Langmia, et al., people in the 1800’s were worried about the impact of the telephone much like people are worried about social media today (Social Media: Pedagogy and Practice). However, social media itself ushers in a new forms of interconnectivity between humans. Langmia et al. also highlight the benefits, and, therefore, definition of all social media. Social media is public or semipublic, shows a list of users to share a connection with, and allows users to view possible connections or previous connections therein (Langmia et al., 2013). Additionally, and most important for my future professional purposes, social media is great for business. Social media allows messages to reach larger audiences and many different forums (Edosomwan et al., 2011).
Notwithstanding, social media makes it easy for people to see what their friends really value and that can sometimes be detrimental to friendships—especially when one considers anything of a political nature. Moreover, putting so much of oneself out there for the whole world to see is not foolproof. Teenagers are notorious for making bad decisions, and, now, their bad decisions are broadcast for the entire world to see. Moreover, social media has a negative impact on work performance and can increase technostress (Brooks, 2015). Social media is not incredibly dangerous, but it is harmful enough for people to be expected to use their best judgement and some moderation.
In conclusion, I feel that the social media pros greatly outweigh the cons. Social media allows people to make a presence for themselves on the net and to express and share interests and life-events that they may otherwise would not have gotten to share with their friends and family. As a veteran, that benefit alone is enough to outweigh the negatives.
Brooks, S. (2015). Does personal social media usage affect efficiency and well-being? Computers in Human Behavior, 46, 26-37. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2014.12.053
Edosomwan, S., Prakasan, S. K., Kouame, D., Watson, J., & Seymour, T. (2011). The history of social media and its impact on business. Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 16(3), 79-91. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/889143980?accountid=39473
Langmia, K., Tyree, T., & O’Brien, P. (Eds.). (2013). Social Media : Pedagogy and Practice. Blue Ridge Summit, PA, USA: University Press of America. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com