Amidst the net neutrality debate, social media users from around the globe have and continue to discover new and innovative ways of corresponding. Personally speaking, I cannot begin to imagine being without the privileges of social networking. It has, in effect, allowed me to streamline my own market and gives me both a professional and personally-rewarding social life on the Net without so much as stepping away from the computer screen.
Having net neutrality, the human experience is amplified throughout social networking realms. It is a way and means for the “little people” in the world to have their say, promote their work, or just be a conscientious observer among the masses. Bob Lamb, fellow Facebook user asks the all important question, “If we lose net neutrality, how will that affect SM?” The Net has truly become a worthy adversary to mainstream media in regard to information sharing, opeds, and other resources…kind of reminds me of the Gettysburg Address, “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” With net neutrality, we as a collaborative community here from the United States and abroad, have an unwritten right to rule the net and social media without the negative implications of corporate conglomerate regulations. That being said, here are a few responses I received in regard to social media networking and how it has affected the lives of average people across the Net:
Adam Sweet, an avid user of Google Buzz and musician says that the 65 percent of his time spent on social media networks is negative, “it’s a time-eater,” says Sweet; however, he admits that social networking has affected him in a constructive way as well, “It (social media) has facilitated communication with my siblings who are very out of touch (through Facebook) and (has) enabled me to increase exposure of my music, which helped me get gigs for my band, students for my teaching studio, and clients for my music therapy program.”
Other avid social media users like Christopher Rizzo affirms, “(Social media) is positive. (It) gives me something to do when I am bored with work.” Though he adds that it can negate his work time.
Prolific social media consumer and photographer, Cassius Wright boasts about Google Buzz, “I’ve met amazing friends, found lost ones, and made money for our various business ventures.” He adds, “Overall, a positive once I dumped Facebook. I only use Buzz, and love it.”
Mark Fey states, “I maintain a running conversation with more than a handful (of correspondents) in diverse areas of the world. This part is mind expanding and enriching. He continues, “I blow off steam and engage in political discussion on a handful of walls either designed for that purpose or run by people who invite these discussions. There I have evidence that there are many (100’s as a sample) of people with similar views, and also many with widely divergent views, some of whom can be reasoned with. I have learned to limit and block those people that are truly upsetting.” Fey also notes, “I have found that all these “relationships” are hard to share with others in my “real” life. This can be frustrating!”
Small business owner, Brenda Curtis elaborates on the value of social media networking: “I keep my professional life off of my social networking sites. For me it is just that, social. Personally, it has been invaluable. I have contacts all over the U.S. and the world. I can go just about anywhere and know someone I could at least have a cup of coffee with while I was visiting. It has also allowed me to keep in touch with people that would have naturally drifted out of my life due to moves, changed relationships, changing interests over the years,” Curtis includes, “It is cost and time effective to use social media.”
Self-proclaimed student of life, Steve Pirk raised a good question on social media regarding the implications of separating business from social aspects of network communications: “If you are a different person with your business contacts than you are with your friends, which one is a prospective customer going to think is the “real” one when they find both of your worlds?” Pirk added, “Not saying it is bad or incorrect, just something to consider.”
Masha du Toit, who is a writer, artist and teacher, cites social networks Facebook, Twitter, forums and other blog sites for helping her to develop her personal and professional growth: “Social media has changed my life by allowing me to teach myself new skills, and help others. I’m socially awkward; the opportunity to interact with people who share my interests is something I’ve come to depend on. I am addicted to learning new things, and social media has opened up doors to me in that area.
Being able to share my short stories, drawings and music with anyone who visits my blog has helped me re-connect with myself as an artist. It’s an incredible boon to have an “instant audience” who can respond to your work.” du Toit adds, “I’ve used Twitter to help me find other people who do creative work (mostly in visual art) which has broadened my horizons and keeps me inspired – partly from seeing their work, and partly from hearing them have the same problems that I do.”
Facebook user, writer and activist Robert Scott explained that social media has affected him in a positive way; especially in relation to news and events. As an added bonus, Scott says, “It allows me to garner a larger audience for my blog as well.”
Social media junkie, blogger and executive assistant, Chelle 63 from Google Buzz adds, “Positives: Saves me telephone/sms calls, brought me closer to family and friends who live in other countries as we are all active on Facebook for instance, some on twitter etc. I’ve learned so many new things, I’m up to date with tech stuff, news etc.” Chelle also reflects on the negative aspects of social media, “(It) takes up too much time; sometimes I prefer to chat with online friends. I’ve never been opposed to going out and meeting the friends I have here. Not good for work though, hence I don’t have work colleagues on Facebook it’s just less hassle.”
Overall, the response to social media networking has been profoundly positive. The critical aspect to social networking, besides apps and other creative networking tools, is by far the human element. So long as we have net neutrality and the philanthropic spirit of entrepreneurialship and friendliness, the Net is our vast virtual escape to freedom and freedom of expression. How has social media affected your life?
by CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd – Social Media, Philosophy and More!
Seasoned Social Media Specialist, Professional Blogger,
Ghost Writer, Freelance Journalist & Web Consultant