The influence of social media has and will always be present in my life, through my childhood and as I continue to “grow-up.” This is because, staying current, and in trend, is important to me, as it is important to many others. Although, I was never much of a MySpace user, when AIM, Skype, Chatroulette, and Facebook became popular, I was all for it. Eventually, using these social media platforms along with many others, introduced over the years, became a regular part of my everyday routine.
6th grade was the turning point of my social media use. At this time I remember beginning to use social media much more frequently. I had just gotten my first cell phone, and after using it constantly in school all day, the first thing I did when I got home was getting on the family computer. I would search AIM and Skype along with FaceTime and iMessage to see who was online and available to talk. Once I had found someone, I would then spend hours online talking. Sometimes, even after talking, I would invite them over to hang out or go on chat roulette, since that was popular to do.
For the most part, I would use these social media websites with people I had met already, or knew of from school, of course with the exception of chat roulette. Often times being on the Internet and talking instead of having a conversation face to face, was easier for me. I was able to get to know people from school that I didn’t get to interact with in class, with ease. My continued use social media expanded the number of people I knew, the amount friends I had as well as my writing, and social skills.
When Facebook began reaching its popularity, I was in high school. I often would (and still do) check it 3-4 times per day. This became a problem for me, causing me to become distracted from my school work while obsessing about my popularity on Facebook. It also hurt many of my friends, when their accounts were hacked. The hackers took screenshots of private messages on their account, some containing sensitive information and made them public posts for any of their friends to see. After this happened, I changed all my passwords to assure that it would never happen to me, and it didn’t, but still the idea of it happening still scares me.
Personally, social media has caused me grief because of the parental controls. My parents were super protective and overbearing and they wanted to know my every move on these sites. Looking back I don’t blame them, but at the time it was super embarrassing for me to be confronted by my parents about words I had said on social media. I actually dreaded the occurrence so much, I limited my own use of social media and became much more cautious when I used it. Despite what I thought at the time, my parent’s censorship actually benefited me. I know if I would have posted anything I wanted or anything I thought, I could have negatively impacted my relationships with friends, or I may have severely limited some of the opportunities I have had already had or even ones I haven’t had yet.
When I came to college I realized social media could be used in other, more beneficial ways than just trying to look cool. Such as making connections with people who might be able to help me or who may need my help in the future, communicating with people from different parts of the world and facilitating the spread of information. I realized the need to stay connected with people you don’t see every day, as well as, the importance of marketing myself for future opportunities, which that can be achieved by using social media.
As for the film Generation Like, watching it really made me more aware of how social media has become, not just as a trend or a way to stay current, but a way for companies to market themselves through their customer’s use of their products. It baffled me to see how much profit or awareness of their product, a company can bring in by associating their product with someone influential and how it can target a specific audience to purchase their product. The willingness of the consumer to do this also shocks me. The motivation that people have to spend money or time to use a product or to associate themselves with a certain famous person so they can achieve more likes and get their little taste of fame to me is ridiculous when thinking about it, but I know I would be lying if I said that I didn’t participate in actions like this whether I know it’s happening or not. This film made it much easier for me to understand why social media advertising is so influential and successful.