You know you really have a problem with social networking when, without even realising it, you have turned on your computer and automatically opened facebook.
How? When? Why? has this happened to me?
Ironically I was the kind of person who shunned social media. Two years ago I went to visit my best friend interstate. To avoid travelling too far with miss 18 months, we stayed with my aunt the night before our flight. She took me to the computer and showed me how she had been playing Scrabble with friends on facebook. She and my dad had long ago been great rivals at Scrabble and she was encouraging me to teach him how to play her. While online she showed me how a cousin (who was housesitting and catsitting for us) was also online and they proceeded to chat. I was still not converted.
When we arrived at my besties I realised she was hooked. She would pop off for a few minutes and continue building whatever civilisation she was into at the time, chat to people and show me all the friends she had caught up with since we had been at school. I found it a bit antisocial seeing as I had travelled the width of the country, husband and child in tow, to spend time with her. I was still not converted.
One day I attended a PD day at the TAFE I was working for. A guest speaker on the day praised the benefits of facebook and twitter to the training community. It was a way to communicate with Gen Y and he spoke of setting up groups to encourage collaboration and networking amongst the students. He himself spent his train journey home in the evening tweeting from his phone. reluctantly I went home and set up my facebook account. I was still not converted.
Within a couple of days I was inundated with friend requests. I was selective and only chose to friend people I would sit down and have a coffee or a wine with in person. I started to understand the buzz Gen Y must get from collecting as many friends as they can. Not much had changed since I left school, life is still a popularity contest, no matter how we try to pretend it isn’t. My inbox was full of notifications, every time I checked my email I ended up back on facebook. I posted some snippets, wow,all these friends choose to like or comment on my posts(again feeling somewhat popular). I was converted.
Next I began my e-learning journey. Number 2 baby was 3 months old, number 1 almost 3 years. I was encouraged to experiment with Twitter, I took some time to warm to it, but before I knew it I was tweeting, retweeting and favouriting a a range of things. I liked how I knew the news as it happened, I could link to all sorts of blogs, and websites. Now most days I have a quick look in the morning. Again, I was converted.
Today I have my facebook account, twitter (https://twitter.com/shaunaflee), google +, eleaders4hume ning, ynhservices ning, LinkedIn, I am writing this blog on wordpress and probably more I have joined and can’t even remember.
All this networking is great, but it doesn’t detract from my face to face relationships. This week I have had some long time friends around for drinks, I have spoken to a couple of my nearest and dearest on the phone, and today had a dear friend drop in, without needing to phone/message/inbox, to just catch up for a gossip a coffee and a laugh. This was the best form of social networking I have experienced this month.