WMW: My Thoughts on Social Media

I know that Wednesday is almost over, but this is the first time [outside of work] I've really sat down and had time to focus on it. Work has been crazy busy with enrollment - only a few more days to go!

So, as I end my day [almost - I still have dishes to do, unfortunately], I'll focus on the prompt at hand: social media. I am amazed every single day at how far social media has come...and how fast it has advanced. I'll be 25 at the end of the month, and I NEVER thought that social media would be where it is now. For awhile, I couldn't imagine anything past MySpace and e-mail!

I think social media has a good side and a bad side. The good side is that it's SO much easier to keep in touch with family and friends. A lot of my extended family are on FB, and updating them on my life is as easy as uploading a picture of me and JJ, or updating my status. It's much easier to reconnect with people I've known for years but have lost touch with, too. My 10-year high school reunion is in three years, and I'm not sure there will be many surprises since a ton of my graduating class peeps are on FB.

In a way, social media has made my life easier, too. If I need to know something, I can probably hop online and find it by digging through Twitter or FB. A lot of breaking news, I can get from following news organizations on Twitter. Letting people know what's going on or that I need help with something is as easy as sending a Tweet - especially since my sister and I follow each other on Twitter and are FB friends. I can't tell you how many times I've found people who are willing to take me places when my car's died or have come over to help me with something. I don't even need to call or text people to get help.

Which leads to the bad sides of social media. I feel like we as a people have lost touch with one another. I can't remember the last time I got a physical card or physical letter. I really only talk to my family or husband on the phone - it's so easy to send a text that I usually just text. I don't text as often now that I have JJ, but I still text a lot. It's so easy to communicate with people without seeing them or really putting in a lot of effort that I feel like we're not personal with one another anymore.

It's easy to be someone you're not when you use social media, too. I'm always very wary when it comes to meeting people online and through social media sites because you never know if that person is a real person or not. I'm a frequent user of The Nest, and while I trust the girls on my local, anniversary and military boards, I'm not sure if others on the site are legit people or an alter ego they hide behind. It's hard to really trust people when you only know them through social media and not in real life.

The ugly side of social media can be seen in the stories of cyber bullying, of kidnapping due to someone meeting someone else online and meeting up in real life...I am so worried about what kind of social world JJ will grow up in. Will cyber bullying be a regular part of life instead of bullying in person? How will social media play a role in his developmental years? I mean, it's not like FB has been around forever - it was founded in '04, and when I joined in '05, it was only for college kids. In just seven years, that site has taken off to be something that many probably never thought would happen. I can't imagine how much more social media will advance over the next seven years.

While I do enjoy using social media and use it every single day, I can't imagine how engaging in this would've changed my high school years. Texting was still very new when I graduated high school, and FB was just starting to take off when I graduated college [and I'd never even heard of Twitter at that point]. It's easy to get wrapped up in it and expose yourself more than you realize, which is something I'm trying to keep tabs on. Even though social media has a hold on our lives, it's still important to keep as much private as you can [a lesson i've learned even more so now that my husband is in the military]. It will be very interesting to see how social media evolves as technology continues to advance at a very fast rate.

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