Changing of the Times

This past Friday was the 100 Days Dance for seniors here at Boston College. 100. Days. It seems like time is moving in hyper speed. This June, many of us will be moving all over the world, whether it be New York City or California. We will be surrounded by millions of people we’ve never met, a little change of pace from being in Chestnut Hill. While this is exciting, how do we leave Boston College behind? It has become who we are. A symbol of the people we have turned into and more importantly, a reflection of what is to come.

These drastic changes are not only limited to our geographic location and lifestyles, but our social media presence as well. How will the way we utilize social networks change?

The social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide us with the ability to keep tabs on friends, and we are fortunate to grow up in a time period where this is possible. On Facebook specifically, I will be able to follow friends as they reach life’s major milestones: marriage, kids, and even the purchase of their first home.

On a few occasions, Mark Zuckerberg and the team at Facebook post a graphic showing how many people throughout the world are on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp or how many they expect in the coming years.. Each and every time I look at these numbers, I am astonished at how many people utilize these networks. Whether their intentions are to maintain contact with old friends from college or promote their business, it is amazing how massive and far-reaching these networks have become.

One concern about maintaining contact through Facebook is it is very easy to lose the personal touch that speaking to friends provides. A lot of times, it is nice to hear a friend’s voice or grab a cup of coffee. If you are simply keeping tabs on friends just by going to their page on Facebook, you lose the great feeling behind genuinely caring about how each other have been and are now go through the motions. This relates back to the benefits and drawbacks of social media. In theory, social media is an amazing thing; you can keep in touch with friends you have gone years without speaking to in just seconds. However, it becomes incredibly easy to lose the personality behind your interactions with friends and family. Only so much emotion can be shared between two people when communication electronically.

Twitter on the other hand will serve a completely different purpose. Nowhere else in the world can I be notified of news stories seconds after they happen as well as follow the opinions or perspectives of friends, celebrities, and even people I have never and likely will never meet. One way in which I have altered my Twitter usage since coming to college is I have begun following people that think completely differently than I do. They have different and interesting opinions on politics, sports, entertainment, etc. Why would I want a live feed of people who all think just like I do? How am I ever supposed to understand others’ opinions without following their logic on their thoughts opinions? In a way, it has improved my life significantly as I have been able to use these perspectives to learn more about how people around me think, for better or for worse.

If I were to ask my brother or my parents what social network impacts their life the most, they would without a doubt say LinkedIn. I believe LinkedIn will have a large impact on my life going forward as well since I will be able to keep in touch with colleagues, former professors, and classmates in a professional setting. If I had rid my life of all social networks but one, LinkedIn will be the one I keep every single time.

Seeing college come to an end will be hard. A good friend of mine really put the experience in perspective for me recently. We were talking about life after graduation and he mentioned how soon our day would come to move onto what is next. An amazing thing about Boston College, and all colleges really, is as soon as one graduating class leaves, the campus does not just completely shut down. The lights stay on, the professors keep teaching, and the athletic teams keep playing. For seniors, it is a bizarre thought. How could something that our lives have completely revolved around for four years be stripped from us and continue to operate as if we were never here?

In response to this, in the years going forward, I hope to maintain contact with friends by giving them a phone call and making an effort to actually visit them in the various cities throughout the world they will be living in. I do not want to lose the happy nature behind my interactions with others and if I solely rely on Facebook to provide this for me, I will never be satisfied. While social media provides a great avenue to keep updated, I will try to make the conscious effort to go beyond these platforms to keep in touch with friends and family.

 

6 comments

  1. This post will be interesting one for you to reflect on in a year. I actually find Facebook the best platform for keeping up with friends. While I agree a phone call or coffee is better, you necessarily have to limit the number of people you can engage on that level (esp. if they move away). FB is great for the people who you’d like to keep up with a little bit and reach out when the time allows, making that phone call/ coffee more valuable.

  2. I relate to this post a lot as someone very concerned about losing contact with friends after graduation. While social media enables us to stay updated on what is going on in the lives of people we drift apart from, I also believe it has the potential to hinder the conversations we may have when we encounter those that we no longer communicate with. There seems to less excitement in catching up with people when you have already been exposed to all the major life changes they are undertaking via social media, whether they are pursuing a new career, going back to school, moving to a new city, etc.

  3. While I agree with Prof. Kane’s point on FB providing some more practicality to friends that have moved away, I still agree with your notion that making a phone call is a much better way to maintain a connection and connecting with fewer people on a deeper level may be more beneficial. There was a Ted Talk on life happiness and one of the main points the speaker made was that satisfaction comes from maintaining meaningful connections with others. While FB may be a way to connect, I worry that the face value of those connections may not be a great enough impact on our happiness. Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KkKuTCFvzI&t=22s

  4. I enjoyed reading this. It’s crazy how fast four years have gone by and I still remember meeting you as a fellow freshman in the undergraduate leadership academy… lol #tb Also interesting to see you’ve chosen LinkedIn as the platform you’d keep, because I personally never got very invested in it. As I mentioned in class last week, I think the “friends” aspect of Facebook changes the nature of interactions that take place in its realm, but I agree with you that it definitely makes us overlook the importance of actually staying in touch rather than glance over on timeline.

  5. As a BC alum, I can definitely appreciate the big thought provoking questions related to how your relationship with friends now will fit in with social media. I do think a lot of the same social processes that you have developed with friends from home during college will apply once you enter the working world. I’m curious to here this from the perspective of someone older who didn’t graduate college during the Facebook era to see how they’ve seen their relationships with friends change with the growth of social media.

  6. You’re definitely right in that it feels like time is moving at hyper speed. It’s crazy to think we (seniors) now have less than 100 days left as BC students – and considering how our social media activity will change as we move onto this next stage in life is an interesting thought. I think you’re right in saying that Facebook will serve as the place where we’re able to keep up with personal milestones in friends’ lives, and likewise LinkedIn will allow us to keep up to date with Professional Milestones of Friends/colleagues. To a certain degree i think there’s a difference between how Facebook is used in college and how it’s used afterwards – and I personally am excited to make that shift. But, net-net, I totally agree with the importance of making the effort to go beyond digital platforms to make sure the personal element of keeping in touch doesn’t become too distant (but maybe that changes with VR?)

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