Social media has been a constant in my life since late middle school until today as we speak. I started off using a social media site that until the other day I didn’t even consider social networking, that was AIM. My first screen name was “CanJimmyPlay213” (look up the video can jimmy play, it was a Gatorade commercial, funny stuff back in middle school) I then jumped from AIM to MySpace where all I ever wanted was to be in as many people’s Top 8 as possible. Social media for me was a way to show off my popularity and looking back on lack there of. I think as a kid in middle school all I wanted to be was popular and be friends with as many people as possible, even though that really wasn’t the case at all. I then made the jump from MySpace to Facebook, which was something I wasn’t very excited about at the time. This was the first time in my long history of Social networks that I was hesitant of using a different site. I didn’t know what Facebook was besides the few things my sister who was in college at the time told me; I didn’t want to get away from MySpace because that’s what everyone else was doing and at the time all I wanted to do was fit it. I think that social media and social networks have really turned into people just wanting to fit in, and show a different side of them. On the internet you can make yourself into anybody you want to be, and that is something that people will see and it could maybe make them think differently of you. I then went from Facebook to the most popular social media there was at the time and that was Twitter. Again I was hesitant because at that time I had been using Facebook for over 5 years, I had really developed a liking for the site and I knew how to operate the ins and outs of the website. Twitter was a whole other ball game, and for me 140 character limit was the stupidest thing I had ever heard of, and it really forced me to try to be clever which is something I am not.
Social Media has really had an impact on my life in both positive and negative ways. I remember in early high school I actually went through some cyber bullying, there was a couple of kids that were in my group of friends who really liked to make fun of literally EVERY single thing I did on Facebook. Whether it was a picture I posted, a status I updated, or a comment I put on somebody else’s wall, and the thing was there was nothing really I could do about. Did it bother me? Yes absolutely, it made me feel like I wasn’t as good as everyone else. Did I let others see that it bothered me? No, why would I? I wanted everyone to think that I was this big tough dude, who wasn’t afraid of anybody. This is where I really started to hesitate with what I did on social media and honestly I’m really glad all of that happened. Looking back on things in high school and the early part of college I wanted to try to show people that I was somebody who I really am not, and honestly I think that is what people use social media for. You see all these girls posting selfies of themselves all made up, and looking good. But then you see them in person, and it’s almost like, what the hell happened to you? You don’t look anything like you do in your pictures. Now my whole purpose of using Facebook and Instagram is to build relationships with the people I am already friends with. In High school I wanted to have as many Facebook friends as possible so that others would like at my page and think wow that kid knows a lot of people, how do I not know him? Maybe they would add me as a friend and want to get to know me or whatever. Now I use Facebook to talk with my dad and my brother who both live all the way on the opposite side of the United States in Washington. I use it at work to talk to my friends who I am really close with, or whatever the case may be. I take pictures on Instagram so my mom can see pictures of what I am doing, or so my closest friends can see what’s up with me. I don’t want people I don’t know to see what I am doing because to me, if I want you to know what’s going on then I’ll tell you. So for me I don’t use social media anymore to update the world on what I’m doing, or to pretend I’m something I’m not, I use it to build the relationships that I already have made.
Social media is becoming too much of a game, a game that I really have no interest in playing. It can really become an escape from real life communication and for me as a communication major that’s not something I want. I think that people can hide behind these sites and use that as a way to make people think a certain thing about them, that maybe they wouldn’t think if they met them and were really friends with them outside of that. I use Social media as a way like I said to build my existing relationships, use it as a way to get information from the pastors at my church, or from news stations like WHAS11 or CNN, to keep current on sports issues, which is a hobby of mine, and to listen to music and that’s it. I think that social media can have a positive impact if used for the right reasons, like finding jobs, enhancing your connections, building relationships, listening and finding new music, catching up with sports, etc. It can be detrimental to society because of its’ escapism and because it doesn’t really teach you to be able to communicate face-to-face.