Thursday, June 26, 2014

Does Social Media Impact Our Daily Lives?

Are you linked in, do you tweet, blog, or FaceTime? These are the questions we ask each other today.

I remember having a conversation with a close friend in 2007 about her new blog and how I should consider starting one myself. Until that moment, I hadn't even heard the word weblog before. This new online world intrigued me and I took on that first blog with a passion, finding it a welcome distraction to the mundane occurrences in my daily life.

With my new found passion for blogging, I decided to take a stab at freelance writing. The more I blogged, the better my writing became. After a few short months into 2008, my friend and I decided to attend our very first writing conference. To our delight, the primary focus that year was blogging. We soaked in every word and filled our heads with the do's and don't's of blogging and freelancing. Shortly after attending this first conference, my first article was published. Talk about a rush! But by the end of 2008, I was feeling burned-out in many areas of my life. But I wondered why.

Bringing in 2009 meant evaluating my activities and trying to figure out how to balance my new world of blogging with family and friends. The problem seemed to be my incessant need for positive feedback in the comments on my blog, and on other's blogs. So I did what every naive woman would do, I started a FaceBook page and a Twitter. My daily life began to revolve more and more around my computer as I had to attend to my commenter's on all three of my new play places online. Having grown my blog I now had a community of like-minded people. They followed me, and I followed them. We were a faithful group for sure, or so I thought.

The Next spring I decided to take a week long break from my online community and reengage in my family life on a much needed beach vacation. I gave every one of my followers ample warning about my online fast and when they could expect me to return. While everything should have gone smoothly, it didn't. First of all, I realized how much I was missing by keeping my head (and hands) focused online. I also discovered that the online followers don't really stay loyal when you need a break. No, they are feedback junkies and just needed a fix, so they wandered off and found other sites to frequent. My blogging became less frequent, until it was almost non-existent.

It's 2014 now, and I've matured a lot since that first blog in 2008. I now understand the need for balancing online and in-person activities and relationships. I am no longer a feedback junkie (a hard habit to kick!) and I use social media sparingly and with appropriate boundaries around my personal life and family time.

I am excited about taking this first class in Mass Communication. I'm looking forward to hearing various statistics about the different trends and their effects on people as a whole and individually. My children are now mostly teens, which means I will need to be armed with as much data as possible as I try to keep up with the newest apps they are using. I still love to write, and my goal of obtaining a degree in Communication will be put to good use, as I plan to secure a job working to help non-profit organizations with their ability to reach their target audience with their message.

Thank you for taking the time to read a little about how social media has impacted my life over the years. I'm looking forward to reading about your experience as well.

I already love this class!

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