I follow and manage my work group’s social media presence as part of my job, so I’m sure I spend a lot more time online than many people. But I think because I’m always searching, comparing, and analyzing news, that I can step back and take a good and impartial look at the ways it’s changing my life.
#1 I’m better informed than ever
It used to be that you’d have to subscribe to multiple papers and magazines to get a well-rounded view of the world. Once I had my first child, my quiet early mornings reading the local paper with breakfast flew out the window – never to return. Now, all of the news is online, and thanks to social media, news organizations are pushing their hottest news stories out to me – I don’t even have to visit websites unless I’m searching for a specific story (how many advertisers did Rush Limbaugh lose or what’s the latest news from Syria), or want to get multiple viewpoints. I follow the major news sources on Facebook and Twitter, so the latest news is pushed right to my desktop or smart phone.
#2 The organizations I follow can communicate more easily with me
I admit I have a lot of varied interests (moderation is often difficult for me), and I love that organizations can easily keep me informed about their latest doings via social networking. And on the other side of that, since I manage several Facebook group pages, I appreciate being able to update our fans/followers easily via posts or tweets.
I follow our local food bank, local family shelter, a micro lending organization, bands, accessibility organizations, friends’ small businesses, radio stations, entertainers, trainers, George Takei (he makes me laugh every day), and a multitude of other personalities and groups. I can easily customize my feeds; adding and deleting as I find new sources.
#3 Grass roots activism is keeping me in the loop
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been signing a lot of petitions lately. And I do believe they’re having an impact. Just in the last few days, I’ve signed a petition against the US government buying pink slime to put into school lunches, and a petition requesting that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) reverse its decision to give an impactful film about bullying an R rating, making it inaccessible to the teenagers who needs to see it the most. I feel like my opinion counts, and governments, businesses and groups are listening. Grass roots social media is taking the world by storm. The Arab Spring, Komen Foundation, Rush Limbaugh, and U.S. politics, just to name a few, have been in the news, and all started with social networking.
#4 My virtual/worldwide water cooler
Social networking lets me catch up with colleagues and friends who live around the world. I work at home and remotely from my team, so team lunches and happy hours aren’t part of my colleague relationships. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to know what they’ve been up to, or check out the latest kid pics. And those friends from high school and college who’ve settled overseas or out of state and didn’t make it to the last reunion? What a great way to keep in touch. Plus, when these Facebook/Google/Twitter/Pinterest friends share their interests and causes, I find out 1) a lot more about those people that may not surface in a face-to-face working relationship and 2) new stuff to learn about.
#5 I get to share the causes and news in which I’m interested
This one may drive you nuts if you’re friends with me or following me on social networking sites, but I love sharing my interests and causes. I am always looking to recruit volunteers for the volunteer organization I manage events for, and if I sign a petition, I like sharing that information too. And if you don’t agree with me or don’t want to read what I’m sharing? You can easily skip over it, or if I really offend you, de-friend or unfollow me. And of course, vice versa. But I rarely do that – I love the exchange and varied opinions I find.
#6 YouTube videos
Need I say more? Okay, I’m not sure there’s a positive here, except that when I’ve had a tough day, I don’t mind zoning out for a few minutes and watching cute kitten, puppy, elephant and baby videos. And the number of how to videos is truly astounding – ranging from cutting your own bangs to installing a garbage disposal. I’m sure we all have our favorite YouTube genres.
So, has social networking changed your life, and if yes, how? I'd love to hear what you think.
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