One of the things that I hear a LOT doing what I do is that people don’t want to use social media because they “prefer to spend time talking with people face to face” or that they don’t want to “waste their time online.” It’s the kind of response that, while I do understand, makes me slightly crazy.
I have never felt more genuinely connected to people and happy with the relationships in my life as I have since social media exploded. While I completely agree that people need to put down their devices more, those who don’t want to use social media because they feel it isn’t as real as what they’re used to are missing out on amazing opportunities.
There are so many things that social media and new technology have done but here are a few things that I think are particularly incredible:
We can find people to “be with” when we’re lonely
I first really connected with people online as a new mom, a time that can be very lonely and isolating. People who are stuck in their houses due to illness can find people to talk to. People who are feeling suicidal can find a lifeline day or night. The internet gives people access to others in times of need that simply wasn’t possible before.
I know there are also MANY issues with online bullying and people being meaner than ever online. I just don’t want to overlook the fact that SO much good is also happening too.
We can work from home and still feel connected to a community
Every time I walk into a packed coffee shop full of people on laptops or clearly in the middle of meetings I think about how things have changed. What we do wasn’t possible 10 years ago. Now we can stay connected through our technology. We can work anywhere. We can have meetings and service clients from our living rooms through our computers.
We can have a voice
We all have the power to get our content into a space that can be shared with the public. We no longer have to hope to be picked up by media, we can become our own media. It’s more work in many ways, but at the same time, it’s opportunity.
We all have the opportunity to create a reputation and brand online - how awesome is that?
I watched this TED talk today and while it is more specifically about gaming, I think a lot of it really carried over to social media and the time people spend online. I think in many many ways people’s lives are better for the changes. Take 20 minutes and listen to what Jane McGonigal has to say about how games saved her life and then leave me a comment and tell me what you think.