Yes....this is probably another blogpost that rants and raves about Facebook, but hear me out. Some of what I do here at the College of Arts & Sciences involves managing social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Flickr. With that, I have come to see social media's constantly growing potential and powers as it spreads like wildfire all over the Internet. Think about it. While many of us complain about the woes of Facebook and the tendency for us to become distracted and even consumed by it, I believe it to have unlimited potential for evolving forms of social interaction. It's already changing social ettiquete. Remember a few years ago when your professor might have said "...and I am on Facebook." and you thought that was weird? It's becoming commonplace and almost expected now. Consuming news media has shifted from reading a physical newspaper, to reading an online version, and now, many people stay informed by subscribing to various Twitter profiles and receiving updates via their twitter feed. With a 140-character limit, these sources are going to have to learn how to cut to the chase. What started as an exclusive college-only social network has turned into the newest and most popular form of advertising for a number of businesses.
The most eye-opening aspect of social networks, to me, is their potential to be conversation-starters and a collaborative means of communication. It's the coming together of people from various backgrounds and demographics; young, old, student, professional, institutional, American, Iranian, etc. Take a look at the Facebook page for the A&S Wired Residential College. Right there you have a collaborative, engaging conversation between UK faculty, staff, and students. Media within the websites are the work projects of A&S staff, and students are using it as a way to get to know their dormmates before move-in. Without this social network as a central hub, this same type of conversation and display would have possibly never happened. And sure, you can just say, "it's a few comments here and there, or someone just pressed the 'like' button, what does that really mean?" To me it signifies that social interactions and our forms of communicating are changing. The fact that people, some of whom have never physically met in person, are willingly conversing back and forth, professors, students, and staff members indicates some unity fostered by digital communications. The Internet is something truly democratic, and it's tearing down geographic, economic, political, racial, religious, gender, and other social barriers with every tweet.
It seems like many of my blog posts and comments are all media & social interaction themed. It's something I don't consciously do, but somehow it happens to find me. I'm anxious to see how these social media sites develop over the course of the semester.