Unlike many people from other generations, I grew up with computers and the Internet. I do not remember a time without computers. In elementary school I took a computer class to learn how to navigate and use the machines. In middle school I took a class to learn how to type correctly and during my years in high school I learned the more advanced programs such as Photoshop and Flash and Adobe. It was during my years as a teenager that I started spending more and more time on the Internet. I would spend hours on AOL instant messenger, also known as AIM, talking with friends until ridiculous hours of the night and in high school I joined a social media site known as Facebook. However, it wasn’t until I went to college that I began to realize how much the Internet, especially social media, had become such a large and important part of my life.
For my freshmen year of college I attended Lock Haven University. Lock Haven is a small school located in central Pennsylvania, three and half hours away from my home. Of course, as an 18 year-old fresh out of high school I knew everything about everything. The distance was going to be no problem, or so I thought. After a short amount of time it was clear to me that I was very wrong about this. I started to miss everything about home, especially my friends and family. Because of my homesickness, it became routine for me to log onto Facebook and talk to my friends at home. I would post pictures on their walls telling them about my different experiences, and they would do the same for me. I used social media as a way to connect with all the people I missed at home. Both social media and other aspects of the Internet aloud me to feel connected with these people who were so far away. I felt included in the things going on in their lives at home without having to actually be there for them. Social media greatly impacted my life during this time and helped me get through my time away from home. Without it I don’t know what I would have done. I would be willing to bet that I would not have made it through the entire year without it. Below I have posted one of the pictures sent to me by my family while I was away at school.
Now that I no longer go to Lock Haven University I still use social media as a way to stay connected with people that I miss. I now use both Twitter and Facebook to connect with family members that live far away and friends I met during my time at school in Lock Haven. It is now my sister’s turn to go away to college and she is currently a sophomore at The University of Pittsburgh. Much like while I was away at Lock Haven, I use Facebook as a way to connect with her while she is at school. We frequently use Facebook chat to talk about things going on and she frequently posts pictures and video to show different activities she participates in while away. The purpose of social media is to keep people connected and that is exactly what it has done for me.
There is rarely a day that passes that I do not log on to some form of social media to be updated on the goings on in my friends and family members lives, as well as keep them updated on my life. Social media has become a way for me to keep up with the lives of people I know, and people I don’t know, such as celebrities and professionals in different fields. I believe that social media has had the same or a very similar impact on people’s lives that it has had on mine. Like I said before, it is all about staying connected and networking with people from around the world. It is now easier than ever to meet new people from anywhere in the world and keep them updated on anything going on in your life as well as see what they are doing. Social media has also created a way for people to find other people or groups that have the same interests they have, such as fan pages or forums. I am sure that social media has impacted many people’s lives like it has impacted mine, if not more. Distance and time barriers are no longer as much of an issue and staying connected with people you know or meeting new people is as easy as pressing a few buttons. Social media has impacted the way many of us communicate and interact on a daily basis.