Newfound connection through social media

Alternative methods of education and what you could do to improve yourself daily…

So I’ve recently broken my iPhone. I’m in that group of people who keep what I call a “safety phone” in my underwear drawer because of how often my phone breaks. I’ve cracked it, I’ve jumped into a river with it in my pocket, and I’ve dealt with all the software problems imaginable.

It’s Monday morning and I wake up and instantly reach for my phone that’s charging within reaching distance of my bed. Opening my old android, I realize that there’s nothing for me to look at on that screen for once in my life. Instagram isn’t supported on the archaic device and I can’t even remember the password for my email since my old phone automatically remembered for me. As I’m lying in my bed looking out the window, I actually hear the birds chirping. I’m thinking to myself: “Wow…when was the last time I actually stopped and listened to the birds in the morning? As a matter of fact…when was the last time I even looked out of my window in the morning?”

Call it a wake-up call or what have you, but I then realized that I’m addicted to technology. Now…that’s not such a bad thing when you think about it. Staying connected is very important these days. In order to maintain your status as an informed citizen, reading the news every so often and brushing up on politics is integral to daily life. Many working people follow this routine for their jobs or just for peace of mind. BUT I believe a balance between the two can be reached. Realizing you have a problem is the first step in fixing it….or whatever they say.

Let’s talk about staying informed. It seems to be so easy these days. Social media is revolutionary in that aspect. In my morning routine, I gather so many tidbits of information from Facebook or Instagram or Twitter to sustain me for the events that will occur throughout the day. I can be prepared for social interactions when someone mentions a political something-or-other and I could potentially voice my opinion on the matter. By reading the news in the morning, I can stay up to date with what’s going on around me. Through social media, another layer of connection appears.

Twitter

Twitter has evolved into a multipurpose network of communication that is one of today’s most common social media platforms. From middle schoolers posting their favorite memes of their teacher to Donald Trump’s use of his twitter account to share news with his fellow citizens of the United States, Twitter has a wide range of uses that are all summed up with a few hashtags.

The use of the hashtag was first introduced by Chris Messina in a single tweet that read: “How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp …?” This single tweet changed the way Twitter operates. Thanks to the integration of the hashtag, so many similar ideas have a simple method of organization. Simple enough, right? This small little adjustment to how twitter works is another glimpse into the possibility of motivational learning.

These hashtags can help us move quickly on social media. By grouping together various threads of like-minded conversation, our lives suddenly become a lot easier. Hashtags can group together various news articles, recent events, popular debates, presidential elections, and the list goes on. By having so many threads of conversations available to us, our opportunities for education are endless.

AND not only does Twitter give us updates on the world, it gives them to us in under 140 characters. How’s that for quick learning? We now have the capability of not only learning something that peaks our personal interests, but we can do it in a matter of minutes to accompany our on-the-go lifestyles.

Instagram

In quite the same way, Instagram is a similar social media platform that gains the same kind of attention for different reasons. In a much more personal way, Instagram allows for another conversation of communication to occur. Instead of being “friends” with someone on Facebook, Instagram implemented the use of a following system.

Instagram consists of photos that can be stored on a specific profile and posted on a dashboard that will show up on the dashboards of people who follow that specific user. Through the use of photos with the capability of captions, Instagram serves as a platform for people to stay connected. Whether this connection lies between two friends who are in separate countries or friends posting a picture of their Saturday night together, another level of connection is so readily available to anyone with a smart phone. Although Twitter and Facebook are used more for political news, Instagram seems to be based more around friendships and relationships.

Personally, I follow some Instagram accounts that feature their latest products to sell. For instance, there’s a sock company, Voodoo Socks, that mainly uses Instagram to advertise their latest pair of socks. It’s an easy way for me to see a picture of their product and all I have to do if I’m interested is click on the link to their website in the caption. Must be good for business.

Facebook

Interestingly enough, Facebook seems to be a combination of all of these previous platforms. In addition to the capability of sharing photos with your “friends,” there seems to be another level of the outreach of news to billions of users. In the top right corner of the dashboard screen, there are chosen topics of conversation that one can easily click on to gain various perspectives on the story. From Kim and Kanye having their second child to firsthand witnesses of the disaster in Paris, Facebook has found a way to educate their users by keeping them informed, and it’s entirely up to the user where their knowledge will go. There are downsides to having these various social media accounts, but for the most part, as long as one can control who they are friends with or who they follow, it is easy to stay informed as well as stay sane.

SO long story short…social media is a great tool (when used correctly) to stay informed on current events as well as what’s going on with your buddies. We now have the benefit of technology so why not use it to enhance our education in addition to connecting with others? By utilizing the ease of access to news on Facebook or excelling your business by using Twitter to keep your customers informed, there is a wide range of benefits to the age of communication we have found ourselves in today.

It’s also important to not become consumed in technology. Actually look outside of your window in the morning and listen to the birds chirping before you check your phone consume yourself in the political and capitalistic world we live in.

On that note — you’re now free to check Facebook. Happy learning!