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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Experiences of a Social Media Sabbatical

Could 48 hours be magical without social media?  This is what I know a lot of people will be wondering, this and maybe numerous other questions about its affects on society in general.
During my self-imposed vacation from social media, I contemplate a number of questions regarding social media and how it affects not only my tiny world, but the world around me.
For me, this holiday was relatively easy to endure.  There were certain times of the day when I would automatically turn to check my status, but saw that little blue app staring up at me and remembered my promise and its purpose.
Due to my age and busy schedule, my time away from social media didn’t really bother me at all.  My family and friends understand that my focus on social media is limited and therefore probably didn’t notice that I was absent. 
Throughout my sabbatical I thought about how communication has changed over my lifetime.  Looking back I can see how dramatic the changes have been.  From the mass production of home computers to the creation of social media, these powerful tools have revolutionized how we communicate, do business, and how world events are shared on a global scale.
I couldn’t think of anything new that I had learned from this exercise. It all seemed so customary, but after some deliberation, I realized that I could be putting my time to better use.  Instead of reaching for my phone, those few moments could be better spent completing a variety of other tasks, such as; planning for the day/week ahead, what to have for dinner and countless other jobs.  I had learnt something!  One thing that my sabbatical will not alter is that of my future online habits.  Limited to occasional searches, my busy lifestyle does not give me the spare time to idly browse the internet or social media.   
Critically thinking about the bigger picture, social media has influenced a diverse variety of topics and has transformed how a large percentage of people communicate, do business and interact socially.  In the mid to late 1800’s through the genius of Samuel Morse, William H. Russell and Alexander Graham Bell the ingenious inventions of the telegraph, the Pony Express and the telephone helped us to communicate.  Today in 2015 thanks to the talents of Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Chad Hurley, Steven Chen and Jawed Karim we have the remarkable creations of Apple, Facebook and YouTube that have changed the face of technology and given individuals the ability to communicate, collaborate and connect with anyone at any time anywhere in the world.  

                                       Our head of social media is the customer.” –McDonald’s
Social media has;
  •  Increased the ability to collectively harness collective intelligence on projects of great variety located anywhere in the world
  • Allowed communication with coworkers and business leaders and invites comments, ideas and a innovative way of advertising to a much larger audience to reflect the changing face of business technology
  •   Made entrepreneurship and global business a viable possibility for anyone to utilize with the power of reaching millions
·         Allows people to share ideas, personal experiences and comments on businesses, products and services.  This allows companies to move forward with crucial knowledge to aid in product direction and development as a result of user-generated feedback


Social media has;
  •  Endowed us with the ability create and view citizen media within seconds of its occurrence from around the world that traditionally could take days and weeks.  In today’s technologically advanced environment with a large percentage of the population owning cell phones that have cameras, even the smallest event is captured and released for the world’s consumption.
  • Made communication possible to not only those whose mobility is restricted, but even in remote rural areas and those difficult to access by traditional means of transportation

Impact on society

Social media has;
  • Helped to unite people with a common goal or belief whether political or social.  This is very evident during elections and as recently seen in the US during the police shootings of unarmed African American citizens
  •  Increasingly allowed people to find, make and keep close ties with family and friends on any continent
  • Helped people to gain notoriety, and expand their influence whether due to a upcoming album release, public intoxication or to raise ratings on a popular television show

In conclusion, there is no doubt that social media has made a profound effect on business, society, journalism, politics and many other facets of life, and it’s here to stay.  The affects have been both positive and negative; however I believe that overall the end result will only improve our very existence.