When you read Puppygirl112897 what initially comes to mind? What may not make any clear sense to you, actually symbolizes a rite of passage in my life. Puppygirl112897 was the first social media account that brought me into the world of social networking: the day my seemingly private life began to open up and allow others, besides my immediate family, in.
Through AIM, an instant messaging service, I was able to have a list of “buddies” to chat with at any hour of the day from the convenience of my family desktop computer. In a way, entering the social media world is comparable to the first time I learned how to read. This one capability completely changed my life forever. It began to give me independence, expose me to a wide variety of ideas, topics and opinions, and give me a new platform of knowledge.
AOL Instant Messenger was the first of many accounts in my social media portfolio. On October 24th, 2010, I created my Facebook Profile and on September 29th, 2012, I posted my first Instagram. I have made over five email accounts, joined LinkedIn, created a Twitter account and even have an additional Instagram revolving solely around food. Unless in class or at work, it is safe to say that that I spend a considerable amount of time scrolling through the latest updates on all of my feeds.
Now some may say this is an unhealthy obsession, but I see social media in a different light. Social media is an extremely powerful tool that continues to assist me in ways I never thought possible. Take my freshman year at Boston College for example:
- The Welcome #BC2020 video on BC’s Youtube Channel turned my nerves into excitement, as it depicted an example of what my 1,370 days (equivalent to the amount of days at college) would look like. With over 35,200 views, BC showed viewers a glimpse into a student’s life without even having them step onto Linden Lane.
- Facebook Events kept me updated on everything happening across campus, and was extremely helpful in learning more about organizations I found interesting at the Club Fair.
- Instagram made it easier for me to associate people’s names with faces. Within the first month, I gained over 100+ Instagram followers, which made the task of meeting hundreds of people in a matter of weeks less daunting. By simply searching a name, I was able to remind myself of who people were, and most importantly recognize who I should look for when meeting them for a meal.
- Google Hangouts provided a space for my committee members and I to host a meeting with the Executive Board of our club who were abroad in Spain, England, and Italy.
- Linkedin made it possible to connect with BC Alumni to schedule interviews and make connections for my business research project last fall.
- GroupMe provided a space to stay up to date with my RA as well as the other girls on our floor. By using this app, my roommates and I were able to locate the nearest vacuum when ours had broken the night before our families came for Parents Weekend.
These are just six examples. While it is easy to question whether all of my time spent scrolling through feeds and watching videos is a waste of time, it is important to recognize the positive impact that social media can have on all of us. Social media is increasingly expanding our global awareness– drawing attention to important causes, and providing a global stage for unaddressed issues. For instance, the organization Water is Life, published a video titled “First World Problems Anthem” as part of their #firstworldproblems campaign. This initiative highlighted the lack of safe-drinking water in developing nations like Haiti. With over 7,150,880 views to date, this campaign not only raised enough money to donate one million days of clean water, but it also shifted the global conversation. The water crisis is not an issue that is typically brought up at the dinner table yet one social media campaign changed that.
Digital Business and Social Media is an ever-growing industry that is constantly evolving. Looking ahead to this semester, I am interested in going beyond what I already know, and gaining a grasp of what has yet to come. When looking back at my life thus far, you can almost break it into two chapters: life before social media and life after. Because of technology, the way we live our everyday lives has completely changed. Every social media profile is comparable to a book, with hundreds of readers following every step of your journey. Walking into this class, I am excited to delve into the different shelves of networks and platforms that social media encompasses, and to discover the direction that the future is heading.