COM0011 – Introduction to Social Media Blog #1

I can still remember the first time I sat at a computer in a lab at my high school and received an email from a friend sitting across the room. I was maybe 17 years old with a brand spanking new Hotmail account. My mind was officially blown. How did it go from that computer to mine, I thought. In seconds? (Side note: do you remember your first email?)

 

Anyway, I’m proud to say that I remember a world without social media. I remember when an email was actually exciting. I remember when my heart stopped the second our family phone rang and my crush’s phone number showed up on call display. I remember passing hand-written letters to friends in class, many of which I still have stashed away in a memory box. I suppose you could say I remember a simpler time when two-way communication happened in one of three ways – in person, in writing, or on the phone.

 

My sons, now six and three, will never know a life that doesn’t allow you to communicate with anyone, anywhere, at anytime. They will never know complete privacy because anything they do or say can be posted online and shared the world over within seconds. They will never understand that it actually isn’t  necessary to post photos of the food they eat, just because. And if I’m being honest, that makes me a little sad.

 

Here I am, a thirty-something-year-old mom of two longing for the good old days of communication. And yet, I’m an active member of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It’s how I keep family in different provinces updated on our family, it’s how I stay connected with friends from all around the world, and it’s how I work. Social media is engrained within every aspect of my life and it’s hard to think that just a few years (ok, maybe 17 years) ago I received my first email.

 

While I can see the negatives that social media has given society (keyboard warriors, anyone?), I can also see the positives. As a communications advisor with the Correctional Service of Canada, I use YouTube and Twitter to share our organization’s story with the general public so they can better understand what corrections is all about. It’s nice to answer their questions directly rather than having them call a 1-800 line and be put on hold. It’s nice to engage with them about the positive work we do. And it’s the best way to find out what our audience is looking for and why.

 

I suppose you could say that while I worry about what social media has done to society and our brains and our capacity to not crave new information every.single.second (Exhibit A), I also celebrate its ability to bring people together (Exhibit B).

 

PS. Anyone else in government manage to start a Facebook or Instagram account for their department without a massive strategy and 27 layers of approval? I’m asking for a friend…

 

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4 thoughts on “COM0011 – Introduction to Social Media Blog #1

  1. I completely get what you are saying. I count my lucky stars everyday that Facebook wasn’t around when I was younger…I was a bit of a trouble maker :). I miss writing paper notes! We used to fold them up in special ways and such, I have actually kept a couple from back in those days.

    Now, as a mother of two I also made the decision of never posting pictures of my kids on the internet. Social media is a great tool, but I agree posting baby pictures or food pictures on the internet is completely unnecessary and why would you want to? Once it’s out there it doesn’t belong to you anymore! (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/31214408/ns/world_news-weird_news/t/family-christmas-photo-turns-czech-ad/#.V-Kzk00UWpo)

    I also work in the government (ESDC) and I am looking to replace the use of the multitude of newsletters we send and that nobody reads. I am hoping that though this course, I will have a better idea of how to approach interdepartmental communication strategies through a trendier vehicle such as social media.

  2. Oh my goodness me too! Facebook as a teenager would have left me with a few too many embarrassing posts. Also, it’s interesting that you mention newsletters. We actually launched an e-magazine last year and it has been successful. It’s called Let’s Talk Express (www.lte-ene.ca) and is our departments one and only staff newsletter that we also promote to the public via our corporate Twitter account. The catch? It’s outside our firewall so we can promote it wherever, however, whenever we want. We even have a commenting feature. As mentioned in my blog, I’d love to get Facebook so that we can share our articles that way as well. Anyways, as a fellow public servant, I’d like to know how your department communicates with staff and the public.

    • That Let’s Talk Express sounds interesting. At the current time, I believe we are using is our website to communicate with the public and newsletters to communicate within the department. I would love a Facebook account for us or at least a Twitter account. We are working on updating our communication strategies to a more modern and useful approach. Given the nature of the government though, it may take a while.

  3. I can relate to this. I was a teen when they started to introduce computers in classes. It wasn’t until grade 10 or 11 that I took my very first computer class. It was learning the very basics as I truly think that the teachers themselves didn’t really know that much about them at the time either.

    I really got into learning how to use a computer in college. This is where I was actually learning programs like Word, Excel and so on. As the years passed the internet blew up and everyone started getting hooked on the idea of having information at their fingertips.

    I remember not being able to use a calculator in class or we would get sent to the principals office, yet today they are teaching them math on calculators in grade school.

    Now we have Facebook and Twitter, along with a variety of other apps that we can use on our phones or tablets. I never in a million years growing up would have figured that I would ever be taking a college course online.

    Times sure have changed and continue to change every single day.

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