I love using social media. Since using MySpace back in the mid 2000s, then Facebook in 2007, social media has weaved into my everyday life.
Reasons why I use social media:
- To find and receive information quickly. It provides a great source of news
- To stay connected with others – the majority of my friends and colleagues use social media channels to communicate (FB, Messenger and WhatsApp are preferred over email)
- To be informed about events
- To build a professional profile
- To discover and explore new interests
I find it curious when people still consider social media as a phase or a fad, and by definition aren’t those short-term in nature? The fact that I’ve used Facebook for nearly ten years shows that it’s utility is greater than many of us first believed. I am aware that social media isn’t the be all and end all, heck communications will continue to exist in many different shapes and forms. But it is foolish to deny their existence in a digital tech-savvy world where school aged children and elderly people have smart phones.
Technically I am classed as Generation Y (or Millennial) whereby I grew up with access to technology. In fact, I was often mum and dad’s computer coach, video fixer, remote control instructor, stereo repairman… you get the drift. The technological shift has already been dramatic in my lifetime; at 6 I was introduced to the school’s sole computer (long live Carmen Sandiego!), at 10 I was immersed in the world of Sega, at 13 my family got a PC, at 18 I got my first cellphone, at 20 I delivered my last ever overhead projector presentation, in my early twenties I was using ICQ which evolved to Myspace, and by my mid twenties I was using Facebook. Today I love Instagram and I’m currently getting my head around SnapChat.
One of the characteristics of being a Gen Y’er is that we tend to be digitally inclined. We embrace the changes in technology and feel excited about new innovations that come our way. Social media has posed many challenges for how communicate with others and I often wonder how younger generations make sense of social technologies, and from what I witness the lack of maturity in young users is frightening. I am hugely concerned by the misuse of social media whereby young people are preyed upon, bullied, or become the person that bullies.
News reports often refer to social media sources (who knew Twitter would be so influential) and most companies and groups have some form of social media channels. This wide acceptance indicates that we all need to develop an awareness of these technologies as they touch of many aspect of our lives. We personally may not engage in all of the technologies, but chances are, your friends, family and children are.