Social Media: A college student’s perspective
Thank goodness social media, and the way we use it, has been evolving as quickly as we do. Looking back at my old posts, that Facebook and Timehop love to remind me about, I can’t help but get red in the face and ask myself, ‘what the hell was I thinking?’ When Facebook was relatively new, status updates were step-by-step rundowns of a person’s day – “Jenny is…chewing bubble gum and walking to the corner store”.
When did people start thinking that the world cared or needed to know what they were doing every minute of every day? Social media grew like wild fire, so people must have cared – no idea why. Maybe we’re lazy? Maybe we’re creeps? Maybe we just like to stay in touch? Whatever the reason, social media is a way of life for us now. If you’re not on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn or some other platform, do you really exist?
Millennials manage social media
I am a millennial. We are on almost every form of social media and they are definitely not all the same. They each have certain features and options that allow them to serve different purposes. There are some that I like and some that I never use.
Facebook: The one-stop-shop of social media
I use Facebook as a form of entertainment and surprisingly education. Not only do I enjoy watching hilarious animal videos or BuzzFeed’s blog videos, but I also read articles that my friends share, hear about what’s going on in my community, and try to spread messages that I feel are important. It’s like an interactive, multi-faceted, unbiased news network. *This may depend on who your friends are*.
I’m not going to lie, I am one of those people that plays Facebook games. They are convenient ways for me to waste time, especially when my news feed is quiet and I’ve already scrolled through everything. Facebook is really like the one-stop-shop of social media. It has everything and knows everything… the ads on my timeline are too creepy. How does it know that I have been looking for this one pair of shoes for weeks?! Creepy but effective.
So why use other platforms if Facebook has it all? That question is exactly why I use those other apps and websites. Facebook is a trap. Have you ever gone to Target to buy one thing and leave two hours later having spent $300? Well, that’s how Facebook works, open the app to check the one notification you got and BOOM, you look up and it’s been an hour. How?!
The visual you – Instagram
I like to view Instagram as my life’s portfolio. You can tell a lot about a person by their Instagram profile. Not only do you get to see a pattern of topics they photograph, but there are also color schemes visible in the ‘all pictures’ overview.
My Instagram is mostly nature, animals, friends, and the occasional selfie – when I’m not looking like my usual ragamuffin self. The colors I see are very neutral, a lot of brown, blue, green, and the occasional pop of red. Comparing my account to my friends’, I see huge differences. One of my roommates has a lot of pink in her pictures – which fits her perfectly. Another one of my friends only posts pictures with his “squad”. Literally every picture is him and his friends. Someone else only posts selfies.
If a picture can speak a thousand words than your Instagram account is basically your autobiography.
Evolution of Interaction
Flowing with the trends, we no longer post hourly FB statuses depicting our every move. We now share videos, pictures and only make status updates when we have something big going on or an important message we hope to spread. So now how do we find out what all of our friends, family, and distant acquaintances are doing? Snapchat. A quick 10 second video or 3 second picture tells us all we want to know about what’s going on in that other person’s world.
The obvious argument is that we no longer actually communicate with one another. We live life and have relationships through our phone screen. Yes, this can be a downfall in our American Society today, but how do the people that actually use Snapchat feel about its effects on social interaction?
Snapchat: Social or anti-social media?
Being one of the newer forms of social media, Snapchat is most often used by younger generations. We use it because everyone we know uses it. It’s a huge network of our closest contacts. Now what do we use it for? How does it benefit us and actually boost our social interaction rather than sucking us into the screen? We usually only spend 10 seconds on it at a time. Videos are limited to that time frame. Pictures are, on average, visible for 6 seconds. The app actually makes you go back to the real world.
I like to watch friend’s “stories”- public videos or photos that remain up for 24 hours – to see what they’re up to. If I see a friend doing something close by, I message them and join them. Pet updates are the best! I can always rely on a quick picture or video of a friend’s pet to boost my mood. When I see all of my friends out having fun and I am inside bored, it motivates me to get active and go spend my time productively – the opposite effect that other social media sites often have.
What’s so special about Snapchat?
Comparing my use of Snapchat to other social media platforms, I would say that I spend the most time on Facebook, then Instagram, and the least time on Snapchat. While this is true, I am the most active on Snap. I post more pictures and videos on Snapchat than I do on Insta or FB. Why? Because it’s quicker, easier, customizable and it doesn’t feel like such a commitment. I can share something with friends in 2 seconds and I don’t have to worry about it being perfect because it’s not technically ‘the internet’. Once it’s uploaded it won’t be there forever.
I think this gives us the opportunity to be more real. It’s almost like a platform for candids. Real time, untouched, real people. That’s what I appreciate the most about it. We all want to see those goofy authentic smiles, dumb jokes, and genuine moments in a friend’s life rather than that posed for picture we often see.
I guess the big picture really is that we all get something different out of the social media platforms we use. How you use it and what you get out of it, is completely up to you…and your followers.
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