I am not very involved in social media. I only have one social media account, not counting Myspace. Within the last 3-4 years I have dramatically reduced my involvement on my one account, although I admit to viewing what other people have posted nearly daily. I think there are several reasons that I have done this. As the popularity of social media sites seem to have grown since their inception, even attracting government agencies and major businesses, it appears that learning the intricacies of this new technology cannot be avoided.
The first social media site that I joined was MySpace in the far distant past days of middle school. Other similar sites existed at the time, but none were as big as MySpace. As I write this I even remember the blog site Xanga was mildly popular. Myspace’s popularity lasted for years, well into my high school years. During MySpace’s reign though, another website was gaining attention. This website, unlike MySpace, was exclusive. My classmates whispered that you could only join if you had a college email address and if you were invited via email. Eventually though, Facebook became open even to high school students and since then, it has grown tremendously.
Because of Facebook’s rise to glory, the halls of MySpace were left barren. How fickle people are. Experiencing this changing of the guard at such a young age, I believe I had the impression that all social media sites would be fleeting. One would rise only to be replaced in a few years by the newest thing. It would be a waste of time to continually join the newest fad website, invest my time into it, abandon it, then restart the entire process on a different platform, I reasoned. Why don’t I simply skip some of the in between fads and only join in every now and then. That’s the major reason I didn’t join Twitter in its early years. I still haven’t. I just knew it would fall to the wayside soon.
Approximately eight years later, Twitter still seems to be alive and well. It is arguably the most influential website/medium in modern American society. Also among the ranks of Facebook and Twitter is Instagram. Social media seems to be ever expanding and many entities now even have departments devoted solely to their social media presence. Once, I was at a friend’s house when her fifty-something year old aunt, who worked for a city government, relayed how her supervisor made her start posting on social media as a representative for her department. Increasingly, it seems, employers are expecting employees to become savvy with social media just as most people are expected to know basic functions on a computer nowadays. Social media seems to have gone from not only a source of entertainment for teenagers and young adults, but also to a skill required in the workplace.
Social media is also used not just for on the job purposes, but for also obtaining a job. Sites such as LinkedIn and even Twitter are used for networking. I may be missing out on building and maintaining business contacts by not participating in social media more. I’m also sure old friends and acquaintances wouldn’t mind hearing from me more. (I could be promoting my blog.) I’m pretty busy nowadays so my frequent contacts include my parents, my girlfriend, my current coworkers, and a handful of friends from high school. That may be more than a lot of people in my situation, but I know the truth. I can do better.
Social media platforms may change and evolve, but they seem to be here to stay. Given the growing incorporation of social media into the growth of one’s career and maintenance of a social life, I wonder if I should stop resisting joining the wave or stand firm. I can probably guess what I’ll end up doing, but we’ll just have to wait to see.