Despite looking ahead to a very busy week (aren’t they all), I am really hoping to try and blog daily with the prompts. Let the Social Media roller coaster begin!
Blog prompt #1: How does Social Media fit into your life?
My answer: almost everywhere!
If you go way back into my archives, you’ll see that I started this blog as a part of a social media and technology summer challenge at Coe College called the 13 things at Coe. In technology world, that was forever ago (almost two years). Here’s my post about how “web 2.0” fit into my life at the time: why web 2.0? At the time, the extent of my social media presence was Facebook. Thanks to that amazing project, though, I am much more comfortable in various different social media platforms.
A bit of my technology background first…
My first computer (and several after the first) was a DOS machine. The Internet became more popular and more used at my school when I was in junior high. I used to beg my parents to let us do the “free trials” that AOL offered for 20 days at a time. This was old school dial-up, and for a long time, there wasn’t even a non-long-distance number for us to dial into. So on top of tying up the phone line, we had to call long distance to get on the internet. I was limited to 10 minute dosages. By the time I was in high school, I feel like I was online all the time, though I don’t really remember what I spent all my time doing. I was on ICQ (does anyone else remember that?), and spent time in chat rooms. As a teenager, this was probably not uber safe, but I made it through okay. Eventually, I spent a lot of time chatting with friends on AIM and continued that through college. While in college, I took an education class that required me to create an online e-portfolio, where I learned some basic website creation and several other technologies. I ended up being a graduate assistant in that same course while in graduate school. Okay, you’re mostly caught up now.
Here’s a “renewed” web 2.0 checklist, with some background on how I learned about it and how I use it in my current life. The order is significant only in that it is the order I discovered these technologies – not necessarily how important they are to me.
Facebook was introduced to The University of Iowa while I was in graduate school. I remember being in the Educational Technology Center, where several of my classmates and I were supposed to be reading articles and working on papers, but were instead all goofing around online (sound familiar, anyone?). A classmate told us that we needed to try out this new thing called Facebook, and that it would become our new favorite timesuck. To say the least, he was right. I love Facebook, despite all it’s issues. I love that I can connect with people more easily, and more than anything else, see and share photos with friends and family. I’m a photography nut, so I love the ease of sharing there. Facebook was also my primary mode for communication (outside of email) with my former graduate school classmates and other student affairs professionals. Now that I am engaged on other platforms, Facebook is primarily for my non-twitter friends (like my graduate school classmates) and family.
2. Blog (I’d link to it…but you’re already here):
As I mentioned above, I started this blog solely for the 13 things at Coe challenge. I liked technology and they were offering a $25 gift card to the local coffee shop and a chance at an iPad. I will do pretty much anything for a chance at an iPad. Except, apparently, save money to buy one. Anyway, the first of the 13 things was create a blog. I was the only person in the challenge who used wordpress and I stand by that decision. I still really love this platform. As a former English major and an avid journaler, blogging is right up my alley. It fits my need to verbally process and just write. Blogging makes me happy. I struggled for awhile with “what should my blog be” and finally settled on “as long as I’m writing it, it’ll be my blog” and that’s been enough so far. There’s nothing consistent, except that when I’m feeling challenged, wordy, or reflective, blog posts happen. More than anything, since the 13 things ended, this blog has been for me. I’ve been revamping it a little more recently to give my personal brand a little cleaner touch, but still, it’s mostly for me. Nonetheless, I really appreciate readers and love folks who leave a comment. Thanks for reading : )
3. Cloud Computing:
I’m not sure that this is necessarily social media, but I love Google apps. I use Google docs daily at work, used them to help plan my wedding, and even to plan a rock-climbing trip. Google Reader keeps it easy for me to keep up on colleagues’ blogs and what my favorite photographers are posting. I love that I don’t have to go to fifty websites everyday or worry about missing something. When I have a few minutes, I can open up reader, share things, and get my daily dose of reading.
I will be the first to admit that I did not enjoy Twitter at all when I first tried it out. You can read more about that here. After that, I left my account dormant for a long time. I decided to give it a new try last year. It lasted for a whole week or so. When our department decided to start Tweeting, I thought I would dig back into my account. I am so, so, so happy that I did. I accidentally stumbled across an amazing hashtag and some great women. I’m also connecting with even more student affairs professionals than ever before and feel like I’m constantly learning. Twitter is probably the Social Media medium I use most – I check my hootsuite account pretty consistently. I feel like it’s truly connective and conversational. I also get a TON of information (in articles, etc.). It fits me very well. Though intimidating at first (think a chat room on crack), I am so grateful that I leaned into my discomfort and found my niche.
My inner nerd is very grateful for delicious, especially as I’ve gotten more into Twitter. All my initial loves for this tool still exist, and now that I’m “favoriting” 20 tweets/articles a day, it’s very helpful in keeping everything organized so that I can go back to it when I need it.
6: Linked In:
As I mentioned in my original web 2.0 checklist, I have had a Linked In profile for a long time, but I’ve never really done much with it. Honestly, though I have fully completed my profile and added a good chunk of professional colleagues, I still don’t actively “use” it. I completed the profile as a part of my personal branding kick, but I don’t engage in conversation there.
I will be the first to admit that I don’t really use Google+…or at least not yet. I have a profile. Haven’t really done much with it. There’s potential there, but most of my network is using other media, so I’m not doing much there, either.
Instagram also recently came to Android, so I’ve been enjoying sharing photos in a new way…though still on Facebook and Twitter.
Social Media has been a great connector in my life, especially as I moved and began a new job half-way across the country. We’re in a strong relationship, and I can’t imagine life without it (even though my hubby might recommend a break on occasion).
Tweet ya later…ekt