Okay, I’ll be honest… I initially took ISYS6621 thinking it would be an easy MBA elective. I thought to myself, “How hard can a class about Facebook and Twitter be?” When I found out we would have to blog, comment, and tweet on a normal basis, I got a little anxious. Facebook is the social media platform on which I am the most active, but it is rare that my friends will find status updates from me. I mostly just upload photos and like other people’s posts.
I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon a little late and never really got into tweeting. I always felt it was aimed at a younger crowd. I’ve only tweeted 61 times and gained 37 followers. Most of the 202 people I follow are celebrities so I can keep up with their lives, and the majority of my tweets are attempts to win prizes. I actually did win shoes from DSW – love me some free shoes!
I guess I’m just not one to share my thoughts and opinions in the social media environment, but that changes today! Although writing these blogs and tweeting may be somewhat of a challenge for me, I am up for it. After all, business managers need to be present and interactive on social media these days in order to be successful and successful is what I want to be!
This class has already made me realize that social media does not just include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Since its definition is somewhat hazy and relative, perhaps my first experience with social media was exchanging notes with friends in junior high school. Many of these notes were not just between two people, but rather a group of people in which we all contributed to the conversation. I still have many of them, and to this day I cannot for the life of me figure out what we were saying to one another – they’re filled with abbreviations, purposely misspelled words, symbols, nicknames, and inside jokes.
If we define social media as requiring a virtual platform, however, then America Online (AOL) would be my first social media experience. My friends and I spent our time on AOL creating group chats to discuss boys, the latest school gossip, and who we thought the quote at the bottom of someone’s profile was about. We even snuck into the public chat rooms when our parents weren’t around (a/s/l anyone?). Those were the good ol’ days, but I definitely don’t miss that awful dial-up connection.
I moved from AOL to Myspace, where I could express myself through ever-changing backgrounds, flashing glittery words, quotes, and my favorite song of that moment. Just by Googling myself today, I was able to retrieve my first Myspace photo, which may have also been my first selfie. If only they had Instagram back then… #nofilter.
Flash forward to today…
I got married this past August, and one of my best experiences with social media so far has been using it to share wedding photos and video with family and friends. Our photographers used Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share them, making the photos and video visible to everyone, no matter which platform they use. Friends and family who could not attend the wedding were still able to experience it thanks to social media. Our photographers even created a blog post about it. We’ll be able to look back at all this social media activity in the future and reminisce about our big day.
Another great experience I’ve had with social media has been using Facebook to keep in touch with the different people my husband and I met on our honeymoon to Belize, including couples from Las Vegas, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin, and even the resort’s bartenders. We may all live far away from each other, but on Facebook we’re just a click away.
It’s amazing how connected social media can make us feel even when we haven’t physically seen a person in a while. I was telling a coworker (who is not on Facebook) just the other day what our former coworker has been up to – how she moved, bought a house, got a puppy (which can now walk on the treadmill), went to South Africa, and went bungee jumping – when I realized how creepy I sounded since I haven’t actually talked to her in a few years.
As amazing as social media is, it also makes you think twice about putting your whole life on display to the public like that. The privacy barriers have been torn down, but this is the world we live in now. I’ve been somewhat resistant to expressing my thoughts and opinions on a mass scale, but it’s time to dive in. Here goes nothing.