This week's Journal Day prompt is a good one, and it's something I have been thinking about a lot recently:
"Do you use social media in your daily life? Do you think it adds to your relationships with others, or takes away from them? And furthermore, do you think social media adds more positive or negative to your life?"
I would consider myself a card carrying member of the social media generation. I grew up using computers and as I turned from a kid into a teenager, using computers/phones to communicate and interact with others was both intriguing to me as well as a completely natural concept. I had a Myspace account back in the day and, just like every other kid I knew, it seemed, struggled to A) figure out the perfect Top 8 friends and B) decide what would be the best music to play on my page.
After Myspace faded out of popularity, I ended up getting a Facebook account. It was the summer before I went away to NIU, and my boyfriend (who had just finished up his freshman year of college) encouraged me to sign up for an account--this was just before the website opened up to anyone who had a valid email address, and not just college kids--so I did! I've had an account for going on eight years now. In addition to Facebook, I have accounts on a few other social media sites. I have a Nexus 4 smart phone with an unlimited data plan and apps which easily allow me to connect with others and pick up on the news.
I feel as though social media has been an overall positive influence in my life. I understand that there are those that for whom it is bothersome or troublesome or just not worth the time, and I have seen the negative impacts that it can have. And of course, I've had issues of my own with it here and there. But having the ability to just "turn it off" when necessary has been great for me and has allowed me to focus on the good things.
Facebook (and AIM, to a lesser extent) made it much easier for me to part ways with T. on Sunday nights, at the end of our weekends together, knowing we would be able to easily communicate throughout the week. My sister lives in Missouri near the Ozarks and though we're busy living our lives eight hours away from each other, we catch up over Facebook messages and texts fairly regularly. (Technology has made it a little easier to be separated from all of my siblings, really, which I'm grateful for.) One of my best and oldest friends has a job at a university in eastern Washington State and even though we are separated by a few time zones, we are still able to keep up with each other over late night chats and reading one another's blogs. It's nice to be connected in such a way!
As we've grown up, we've spread out and adventured all over the country, and the world--Washington, California, New York... and Costa Rica, and Korea... we can send emails and look at photos and communicate instantaneously. I really appreciate what social media has done for allowing me to keep in touch with people and staying close, even whenseparated by hundreds, or thousands, of miles. I make it a point to have as much one-on-one, face-to-face interaction as possible, but Facebook and the Internet and technology have made it much easier for me to keep in touch and that, to me, is nothing but a benefit.
(As always, thank you to Danielle at Sometimes Sweet.)