Ok, I confess, I’m a YouTube addict! I just find it very entertaining. Some of my friends consider YouTube to be the magical place where many hours are spent and nothing is accomplished. This can be true. As a matter of fact, it can be quite the distraction as I have come to learn. However, it can also be a place where the talents of millions are uploaded for all to see and enjoy.
My point is, the Internet, particularly social media networks, have taken a big leap since the last generation. Back in the days of Asian Avenue, Xanga, and MIRC, online socializing catered solely to teenagers. Well, times have definitely changed. Now everyone from all walks, all ages, from every sector of society is on the grid, one way or another.
Today social media is unbelievably accessible. You don’t even have to have a computer to use your twitter account. All you need is a smart phone and you’re ready to tell the world what you’re up to at exactly 3:47 in the afternoon. I know, it sounds pretty ridiculous. What’s equally ridiculous, however, is that there are those, and you know who you are, who find great satisfaction in knowing what other people are doing all at all hours of the day. I must admit, its pretty interesting to know that exactly two minutes ago Jennifer Lopez just bought a grande mocha caramel at the Starbucks on 17th and 5th. I guess you feel a sense of connection with people that you would otherwise know nothing about. Now, if I ever run into J-Lo and she’s thirsty, I know exactly what to get her. Thank you, Twitter.
Lets talk about online safety. Is it really safe to make your thoughts, your pictures and your life accessible for the whole world to see? The answer is simple, be responsible and always exercise discretion. The reality is that today’s social media has become so integrated and accepted in everyday life that whatever you post about yourself often becomes an extension of who you are. This means being extra careful about what you post and ensure that what you type is what you mean.
A simple and honest comment like, “Sara, I had the most amazing time at your house last night” could mean two completely different events. And whatever you do, never post anything when you’re angry. Just trust me on this one. Lastly, no matter how close you are with your friends, always keep your passwords to yourself and remember to log out. Recently I forgot to log out of my Facebook and the next day it has me saying, “I am Hannah Montana’s number one fan!” I actually got off easy, it could have been a lot worse. Treat your online passwords with the same level of security that you treat your bank card. For those who have young children, I implore you to take the time to educate them on the importance of online safety.
So what happens next? Where will social media take us ten years from now? My greatest fear is that we will become so dependent on electronic communication that it will completely replace face-to-face interaction. If there’s one thing we should always remember, social media networks were created as a supplement to human interaction, not a replacement. Safe tweeting, everybody.