Social media is and probably will be a big part of my life for the rest of my life. I started using social media in middle school by way of MySpace. It was such a huge platform and everyone had it, so therefore, I needed to make a profile, too. Since then, I have embraced almost every platform thrown my way. I started using Twitter around freshman year of high school. At that time, bands were using it as communication between them and their fans. Since I was very much into going to concerts and being a fangirl, I made a twitter in hopes of seeing my favorite band member “notice me” and tweet me back or like my tweets. It was a big deal in the fandom world!
Through Twitter, I have made a lot of friends in real life. Most people may think that online friendships are real and they don’t exist because you’re talking to a screen, not an actual person I beg to differ. My best friend is one person I met via social media. We both liked a band and had connected because we both lived in Kentucky. From there, we chatted all the time and ended up going to the same concert where we met and became actual best friends. She lives in Lexington, I live here in Louisville and we still, to this day, plan trips to see each other on weekends when ever we get the chance. In the mean time, I still tweet her or comment on her status on Facebook (and text her, of course.) But, that’s just one example of social media enhancing a relationship and giving it quality. Without social media, I don’t think we would have ever met because we would have never known we were going to the same concert to begin. It’s kind of weird to think about it that way. We’ve been friends for so long now (almost 8 years!) it’s weird to think how easily we could have not been friends.
One thing that I see on social media that feeds into it’s negative stereotype is online trolls. Yes, they exist and hurt people’s feeling online. They cyber bully and can ruin online relationships if you let them. But, that’s not the majority of social media. That’s one end of the spectrum. On the other hand, you have brands (people and companies) communicating and engaging each other. Whether it be your favorite shoe brand, a celebrity, or a Fortune 500 company; there interactions can improve interpersonal communications. We ensure this by ignoring the trolls and using the great blocking option. The beauty of social media is that no one is forcing you to follow something you hate. You like what you like, follow blogs and users you enjoy; it’s surprisingly easy to cater a newsfeed to your own interests. If you see something that you don’t like, you just simply unfollow it. It’s that easy.
I don’t really see myself cutting back on social media. In the next few weeks, my life will revolve around interning at the Kentucky Derby and helping manage social media. It’s hard to cut back on something you enjoy and something that is a potential career. I’m in Dr. Freberg’s social media class and I have seen how SM jobs are expanding. I don’t think it’s necessary to cut back on social media, it’s important to use it in moderation. It’s like eating dinner: you can like steak, but you don’t have to eat the whole cow. You create portions. Don’t overindulge and make it a chore or unenjoyable.