My own social network footprint
Posted by Jennifer Smoot
I have been using Social Media “forever”, or so it seems, so my curiosity got the better of me. How long have I actually been using different forms of Social Media?
Baron, N. (2008) goes in depth into AOL and it’s instant messaging service, AIM, this is one area I skipped over entirely. I am not really sure why except I think the comment from Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2007) “While people were already flocking to the Internet, most did not have extended networks of friends who were online” (p. 214) fits me to a tee. I was definitely one of the earlier adopters of anything Internet related among my group of friends. Many of them found chatting to be more intrusive than productive. My kids were also still pretty young when AIM and other IM services first came out so I did not have much of it going on in my household at all.
I do remember signing up for My Space as one of my first attempts at entering social media, so, down in my archives of password and user names I dug up my My Space account info to see if it was still active. Sure enough, it is. But since My Space has changed and transformed so much since I last visited it, any history of things I have done on there is long gone (although, I am pretty sure I did absolutely nothing on it anyway).
Facebook, which I joined on October 22, 2007, is the one I participate in the most and have the largest circle of friends also participating. I definitely go through phases of more or less activity but I absolutely love keeping up with old friends. I also am “friends” with my kids and while I don’t comment on their pages (or I will get the “don’t be creepy” lecture), I have pulled off and saved so many images I never would have seen without Facebook. I also like to see what they are doing every now and then. Interestingly, all three of them use it far less than I do. This is also about the only site I do any sort of active chatting on, again, primarily because I have the largest circle of friends on this site.
Twitter has been a friend and a nemesis for me! I posted my first tweet in March of 2009 but I probably hawked the site for at least a year before I understood it well enough to participate. At that time I was in real estate and was trying to find a way to make connections with people I wouldn’t normally connect with. For this reason, I would have to disagree with Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2007): “While networking is possible on these sites, it is not the primary practice on many of them, nor is it what differentiates them from other forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC)” (p. 211). Twitter is one of the Social Media sties that I think is used for actually networking quite a bit (LinkedIn would be the most active networking site). With it’s more “open” concept of followers instead of friends, you can interact with anyone you want to , not just those that allow you to. Where I struggle with Twitter is you really need to be a prolific poster and SME if you want to actually meet and engage with new people. It was too much of a time suck to make it work for me! I still use Twitter as a sort of real-time news site. My daughter uses Twitter more than Facebook and I love that I can snoop without her even knowing!
Finally, I am also on LinkedIn (ok – I really need to change that profile picture – it is a little outdated!). Until recently, I really did not go on LinkedIn very much but I am currently networking and doing research for a new career so I am on it almost every night. I do not use this as a social medial platform but rather strictly as a job hunt and networking site. I also have found the “Interests” and “Channels” options which allow you to read posts from other experts. I find this extremely useful in my job hunt.
While I thought some of the readings were a little outdated, I do think there was some valuable information to be had about habits of those who use social media. At the very least it gives a great historical background to some of the beginnings of social media. Probably my favorite part was reading about Bill Tilly and how this 83 yr old not only uses social media, but uses it to improve his way of life by looking back on his posts and changing his habits. I think we can all use a little but of Bill Tilly in us! (Qualman, 2009, p. 51)
Baron, N. (2008). Always On, Language in an Online and Mobile World. New York, Oxford University.
Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social network sites: Definition, history, and scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), article 11.
Qualman, E. (2009). Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business. Hoboken, N.J., John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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