I love technology and everything related to it. I love my smartphone and its great applications that facilitate my life. I also like my smart TV and Google Home,..etc. I have an account on almost every social media platform out there. I consider myself a prominent observer and follower. However, I don’t consider myself active by any means on social media.
I started with Facebook as Nancy. It was the perfect way to connect with my family and friends back home when I first came to Canada. It was a fantastic feeling to be able to communicate with them daily after many years of one costly call every week or every other week. We used to share photos for our gathering, events, baby showers and happy moments; this made me feel less lonely and connected.
A significant shift to Twitter happened with the start of the Egyptian revolution (as part of the Arab Spring) in 2011. Twitter was of the main tool to follow what’s really happening on the ground. Following the right people to see the truth was a challenge back then. State media, such as TV and radio, were just broadcasting lies. I followed all sorts of activists and people who were reporting events in almost real-time. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I was amazed by the fact that I can know what is happening while it is happening. I started with one that I really trust then my following list kept growing from there.
I have to say I liked Twitter more than Facebook. I felt it is more informative and to the point. (Back then, a tweet was limited to 140 characters). I experienced the same feeling when I took the first class with Alec. I went and tried to follow people in the Instructional design or education field. I was amazed by the amount of information I can get from connecting with experts in any field of interest. As for Facebook, it started to be a place for people to vent, object, agree or have big arguments. I began to lose my relationship with some family members only because I have a different opinion, and suddenly everyone started to be a political expert. I started to withdraw from Facebook and disliking it.
My main concern about social media is privacy. I am, I think, an introvert, and until this moment, I am not able to accept how social media can expose our lives. For example, I remember how panicked I was when I heard about the Snapchat live location option. I asked my kids to turn this option off and talked to them about privacy and how they can get harmed if the wrong people learned about their current location. Of course, my kids didn’t listen to me for a long time. It was their way to meet their friends and to know where they are.
My other concern is that our relationship with social media can quickly become an addiction. I notice that on myself sometimes. Especially when I am away from home or the regular routine with the kids and family, I can spend most of my time on social media following what I missed. Needless to say, my kids are always on their mobiles, especially during the Summer holidays.
In my case, Social media is a great tool to learn about anything at any time. I always check Pinterest for ideas and inspiration. I check twitter for updated information and advice, Instagram to know about the latest trends or small business. SnapChat to communicate with my kids. Whatsapp to arrange gatherings and events…and so on. Social media like everything has its pros and cons. It can be a bumpy road if we don’t use it responsibly.