Journal Day #7: How Does Social Media Affect Your Life?

I've been lacking a bit on my journal posts from Sometimes Sweet  but this marks the start of them again. I'd really love to know your thoughts on this one too...

Do you use social media in your daily life? Do you think it adds to your relationships with others, or takes away from them? And furthermore, do you think social media adds more positive or negative to your life? Write about your relationship with social media, and talk a bit about how you got started, and what role it plays in your world.

In a few years’ time, I doubt that our generation and the younger generations will be able to imagine a world where social media didn’t exist. It’s become such a huge part of our lives that it’s been implemented into our daily routines, so much so that some of us (myself included) are always consciously thinking about it. These simple social networks are now so influential in how we communicate, and we’re always attracted to them. They’re constant and actually reliable – always telling us what’s happening, always a source of information and always a place where we can connect with thousands of people.

I was given my first mobile phone for my 11th birthday. After that, during high school it was all about Piczo, Myspace and MSN chat. I’d spend hours on these social networks, talking to my friends who I’d just spent all day with, uploading photos and who knows what else.

Then social media kicked off like lightening. It all happened so fast. One minute things were going steady. The next we had Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Spotify, Vine – all these social media networks being thrown in our faces saying ‘join us’ or ‘sign up here’.  So I signed up to Twitter and Facebook, posting daily statuses and many tweets about my life - what I was eating, where I was going, who I was with, because that’s how people used them. Then I entered the blogging community.

When I completed my undergraduate degree everything changed. I decided to start my blog and learnt that social media isn’t about you tweeting how tired you are or, in my university days, how good of a night out you had. It’s a way of interacting, of promotion, of finding like-minded people like yourself who are producing their own content and sharing it with each other. It was a revelation to me and one that I really liked.

In terms of relationships, over the past few years’ social media really helped. I’d talk to the same people face to face and then over Facebook too. It was a constant conversation between us all. Now, I’d say it helps different relationships. I love social media for my blog, but if I didn’t blog, I honestly don’t think I’d use it. I love being able to go on Twitter and replying to someone’s tweet that starts a conversation, or comment on a photo I like on Instagram, and I could be talking to someone new every day. That’s what’s amazing about social media – the way it can connect everyone, altogether, all at once.

Looking back, I’d say social media has a positive effect on my life. But it’s even more positive today. If I had a question I knew the blogging community would know the answer to, I’d go on Twitter, not to Google. I really enjoy social media, but I can also happily take a break from it. I saw a couple the other day who were eating at a restaurant in the evening and they were both sat there on their phones, on social media. In a morning, me and my boyfriend are both on our iPads over breakfast, because we like to catch up on things. But any other time, whether it be eating lunch and dinner in our homes or even at a restaurant – we never look at social media then. I think it’s about finding a balance, and finding the right time in your life to use social media.

Social media is important now. But my family, experiences and life in general are more important.

What interests me the most is where it's all heading in the future. But for me, a handwritten letter or card will always be more thoughtful than a tweet or wall post.