Engaging with social media is a journey.
Although, I’ve always thought about it as more of an excursion. One where you head out of the house (or onto the web) with a goal in mind. You intend to see a few sites, take in a few photos, and maybe even connect with a few people. Except this excursion happens in your living room, in the office, sitting on the bus, waiting in line. It’s quick, it’s often uneventful, and you’re always able to pick up where you left off.
As it turns out, I, like many people, had some misconceptions about social media. It’s not simply an excursion away from work and into captured moments of friends and family. Social media are learning tools, complex communication devices, and an astounding collection of shared experiences; large and small, interpersonal and global.
I can’t pin down exactly what drove me to study social media. Perhaps it was the new implications social media brought to computer-mediated communication. Perhaps it was watching online communities transform from small niche interests, to unimaginable global communities such as Twitter and Facebook. My first taste of online communities and social media included the likes of small artist websites, blogging sites, and MySpace. My experience has changed so drastically that I cannot help but laugh at my former self.
The best part of both studying social media academically and using it for my job is that I constantly HAVE to learn something new. I feel that I have yet to really maximize on the networking opportunities social media provides, but that will change as I continue to utilize the huge variety of platforms. As social media and communication technologies evolve, I hope to always have a career where I can fully utilize the potential of social media.