Mashable.com decided to make yesterday, June 30, Social Media Day. Don’t think you promote social media? Think again. Take a second to stop and think about your day so far. How many times have you checked your Facebook, updated your Twitter status, wrote on your blog, read someone else’s blog, and so on. If you have been involved in these activities, you have been actively promoting social media.
The best definition for social media I could find was on the college student’s greatest evil: Wikipedia. They define social media as,”social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media use web-based technologies to transform and broadcast media monologues into social media dialogues. They support the democratization of knowledge and information and transform people from content consumers to content producers.”
Who knows, this could be an uneducated homeless man’s definition, but thanks to social media itself, he is now a published and quoted author.
This causes me to think about whether or not this was really a day for celebration. There are definitely a lot of positives to social media, and in a way it has made my life a lot more simple when it comes to communicating. I can keep in touch with high school and college friends without even picking up the phone, update my blog so my relatives know where I am this month, and I am even able to video chat with friends from New York to the Netherlands.
Beyond just keeping in touch, it also lets people into my personal life and me into theirs. I am now able to let the world know when I find my lost keys, locate my long lost 1st grade teacher, and find out when and how people I don’t even know got engaged. If I’m lucky I might even get to see a video of it posted on youtube.
Ok, so the last few things I mentioned may not necessarily be “positives” but the option is there, and for some reason taking part in them is addicting and intriguing.
Social media now offers everyone the chance to be content producers instead of just consumers. We can let the world know our opinions and publish them with the click of the mouse; no editor required. This gives us a lot of power and alludes to some negatives that come with social media.
Although mediums like Twitter and Facebook have a way of keeping us connected to friends, I think we also lose an important personal connection. Taking the time and effort to give someone a call or write them a letter is a thing of the past. If you have something to say to someone, just mention them in your tweet or quickly write on their wall.
This may be easier, but where is the effort and interpersonal connection? The “simplicity” of maintaining so many friendships over time can become complex and leave you with a lot of “friends” and not many FRIENDS … if you know what I mean.
Social media also gives us the opportunity to be so “involved” in other people’s lives that we would rather spend time reading about theirs than living our own. Think of all the time you can waste in a day reading Joe Blow’s blog, then, before you know it, you have been redirected to Janice Blow’s blog, to Jr. Blow’s facebook page, and suddenly an hour has passed and you find yourself looking at the Blow family’s vacation pictures from 2007! Maybe there is a reason “there just aren’t enough hours in a day” is such a common phrase.
So what do you think? Is it a day worth celebrating?
Maybe instead of baking a belated cake in this day’s honor, take a few moments to do a social media inventory on your own life. Try to calculate how much time you spend a day involved in social media, and ask yourself if you should cut back and maybe be a better steward of your time.
I guess a way we could celebrate this technological advancement in our lives would be to honor its roots. I challenge you; go buy a stamp and send a letter, or find a little extra time to call a friend who has only been recieving your tweet shout-outs.
So yes, be happy we have these options of communicating and making this world a little smaller, just keep moderation in mind as you begin your daily perusing.