We have decided that from time to time we will now be having Guest Blogs. These blogs may not be directly related to any specific happenings on Empire Avenue, but will stick with the themes of engagement, social media, and so on. If you are interested in submitting a guest blog please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s guest is someone you all know and love….me. This blog post was originally written for my personal blog, and I hope you enjoy it!
I have been thinking about Social Media quite a bit lately. My job at Empire Avenue requires that I fill my head with “tweetable thoughts”, the never ending quest for followers, and how I can engage with people online. It isn’t easy, and it is quite rewarding and satisfying to have the reach that Empire Avenue does, but I have also found myself debating the way that I personally use Social Media, and how I interact with my personal (and substantially smaller) network.
My first serious exposure to Social Media was around 2007 when I first made my personal Facebook account. I had dabbled before with a MySpace account, but it wasn’t until Facebook that I started taking the concept seriously. When I say taking it seriously what I mean to say is not taking it seriously at all. I never got so bad as to post a selfie after a lonely night of binge drinking or anything (hypothetical example considering I hardly drink), but I was bad enough to post original stories I had written about fighting television icon Mr. Rogers for the rights to my soul, and other silly things that a hyperactive teenager would think is funny.
Looking back it’s easy to be embarrassed (so much so I spent a night removing some of my more “bizarre” writings) but when I really thought about it I can tie my fascination with Social Media directly to those poorly written thoughts of an odd teenager.
I’ve always enjoyed writing and Facebook allowed for an almost instant reaction from my friends, family, and even a few acquaintances who even though we never really “hung out” or anything were in my network because we attended the same school. There must have been something in the water because the reactions to my offbeat writing was for the most part positive. It got to the point where people were asking me to write silly stories about them fighting zombies, or fighting over cereal, or whatever else it was my brain was thinking at the time.
I thought the whole thing was awesome. Not only was it feeding into my teenage ego, but I was making friends, getting laughs, and I didn’t even need to leave the house! It’s every homebody’s dream! Needless to say interacting with others on Facebook became an almost daily routine.
Fast forward about 7 years to now. I haven’t written a Facebook Note (do those still exist?) in a handful of years, and my last “crazy” story was written back when I was still in high-school. Facebook is still a daily thing for me, and my humorous mentality has shifted but is still very prevalent. Long winded tales of fantasy turned into factual observations about that guy doing pushups on the bus, or some “witty” (see dumb) remark about the news, and part of me still gets way too excited when a joke lands and the comments on my post start taking off.
There are other things about Social Media that I enjoy. My Twitter feed always has something interesting in it, and watching bullies from elementary school systematically ruin their own lives is a hilarious (see petty and sad) past time, but the main hook for me has and always will be the fact that I have a reactive audience for whatever comes out of my head. Is it selfish? Probably, but as we determined mere sentences above I’m probably not well adjusted.
However, therein lies the beauty of social media. You can use it anyway you want to! Do you want to have a Facebook feed completely dedicated to cat videos? Go for it. How about a Twitter feed where you only tweet from the perspective of the Space Jockey from the movie Alien? Who am I to stop you when you tweet “Strange crew in ship. They are probably gonna die. lol”. You’re right I can’t, and probably shouldn’t stop you, because that sounds awesome.
It’s always weird to me when people say things like “This person doesn’t know how to use Social Media” or “This person is using Social Media all wrong”. Imagine somebody telling you that you were using Playdough wrong.
“I can use these tools to create any sort of thing that I want, and you are saying that it isn’t for making dinosaurs?”.
“I can use these tools to create any sort of thing I want, and you are saying it isn’t for making bad jokes?”.
I may not understand why somebody might want to use their social media the way that they do, or eat handfuls of Playdough, but as long as they aren’t hurting anyone I respect their right to do as they see fit.
Any who this has gone on for far too long now, and I’m just going to end it. No conclusion. No pretty recap or wrap up. Mostly because it’s early and I am too tired to think of one, but on the other hand (much like my social media presence) because it is what I feel like doing, and unfortunately for you I can not be stopped.