My love-hate relationship with social media started over ten years ago when I first started seriously using the internet. When I first started using the internet personally, this was when I was about 12 years old, I immediately started using chartrooms. At the time I was a diehard pro wrestling fan, and really wanted to connect with other like minded individuals. I found the experience exciting and intriguing. Connecting with , and speaking to others from around the globe about similar interests was just an amazing experience. I had never before felt that I had the world at my fingertips, and in many ways it was the most socially liberating of my life at the time. I then continued to use such instant messaging services such as MSN, AOL ( AIM), and Yahoo. I still use AIM to this day. By the way , I can not stand when people literally call it ” A. I. M.” instead of AIM. When I attended boarding school for high school , much of the access to the internet and different forms of social media were limited by the administration. I only had instant messenger access.
When I entered college in 2004 , I was truly able to dive head first into the modern social media world – almost head first. I started off joining Facebook as a freshman in college. At the time Facebook was exclusively for college students , and even only specific colleges had access . The exclusivity of Facebook at the time made it more attractive to me than the more popular MySpace , which I believed was less mature and less refined than Facebook. I always had a negative view of MySpace , as I believed it was mostly for self-centered individuals looking for attention and/or companionship. My slight cynicism for some social media at the time extended to blogging. During my college years , 2004-2008, blogs and blogging exploded. Mostly everyone that I personally knew had to have an online journal/blog to essentially express their thoughts and opinions online. I absolutely refused to jump on the bandwagon , as I felt it was just more immature, self-serving nonsense. My personal slogan in regards to personal blogging was “ get over yourself”.
However, as time passed on and social media itself evolved , matured, and expanded , I began to see the practicality of social media. I began to realize that blogging could be used to entertain, inform, and share information. I eventually got over the expansion of Facebook to include the general public, and still respect its slightly refined user-interface. Last year, I began using LinkedIn as a viable professional tool to help advance my career and network. I also started using Twitter to follow many of the people and organizations that I believe have constructive information to share. I believe that as I grew as a person socially , so has my use of social media, and despite some of my qualms and peeves about it, social media has absolutely changed and enhanced my life. It has allowed me to listen to the opinions of others while being able to voice mine. I have been able to keep in contact with important family, friends, associates and colleagues . I have also been able to find and experience many meaningful relationships with people who I otherwise wouldn’t even know existed. As much as I admire my social media history, I am absolutely anxious to see what my social media future holds. It will be interesting indeed.