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October 28, 2009 / Katy

Social Media

When I was a senior in highschool (2004-2005), I began to hear this buzzword around school: “facebook.” Everyone started talking about it around the halls, and it became something that was a must have. No one quite understood what it was, or what we were to do with it, but we knew we had to have it. You just had to start a facebook page or that was the end of your social status. But when facebook began, you had to have a college e-mail address in order to start an account (Example: katy_boatman@ecats.gcsu.edu.). It’s whole purpose was to keep college students in touch with one another and in touch with their friends and former classmates.

So, of course, the highlight of senior year is being accepted to a college and choosing which one you’d go to. The new highlight, however, became not only getting accepted, but recieving your first college email address so that YOU could start your facebook page. Forget graduating- getting facebook was the new milestone!

That first year of facebook was the best. You can’t forget the GIANT enevelope that would show up on your homepage to show you that you had a message. It made me feel special! And the scroll of birthdays was big and right on the front screen so you couldn’t miss it. These days ,with the 5pt font over in the bottom corner, you’re lucky if I even know you have a birthday..

I’ve realized how much Facebook and now this whirlwind called Twitter, have shaped and changed our culture. Facebook moved onto allowing high school students to join, then opened up to the entire world. I can remember the day high schoolers were allowed to join facebook. You should have heard the complaints on the college campus. How dare they take away OUR facebook! But now, it has become a place for 40 year olds to find their high school friends, parents to keep tabs on their children, an outlet for friends and family to see your photos, a way to send out surveys, and an adverstising and marketing tool.

I have been in meetings the past couple of days, and listened to the marketing procedures for new products coming out from my company. Every single one of them will use facebook and/or twitter as one tool to get the word out about the product. It became so much of a given that the presenters would end marketing plans by saying, “oh, and of course we’ll use social media.”

But can I complain for a minute? What happened here? And where did my outlet to just keep up with my friends go?

I attend a church service for 20s-30s, called Kairos, here in Nashville and the pastor has shared before that so many people ask to come and sell things or give away things to us before or after the service, but the pastor and leadership team will not allow it. He says he wants to protect us, and give us a place where we don’t have to be distracted by people pulling at us all the time.

I cherish that. And I appreciate that.

Now, I understand the usefullness of Facebook and Twitter as marketing tools, and I get that it has helped my generation and others be more informed and more involved. But I can’t help but wish that the Facebook I was so attracted to 5 years ago had never changed; that commercials, magazine ads, soliciters, and billboards, would have been enough.

I commend the creators of Facebook and Twitter, and know they must be pleased with the success and CRAZE they have caused (and the millions of dollars they’re sitting on). I just sometimes miss the days where I didn’t have to say no to 10 events that I could care less about, skip through peoples’ results for which Disney princess they are, delete who tagged who in some meaningless note, bypass who joined the “I’m a fan of peanut butter” group, and feel sorry for who ended their relationship. I. don’t. care.

Long story short: I feel violated. Is that harsh?! Now let me go post on my status that I updated my blog…

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