Monday, January 30, 2012

The benefits of social media

My friend Arleen asked me and some of her other friends the following questions. I wanted to share my answers to see if you also have the same benefits from social media and smart phones as I do.
Arleen quit Facebook two years ago.


1. What am I missing? (In other words, what are the pros of using sites like Facebook and Twitter, of owning smart phones and of using them to text? What can you do with social media and smart phones that you simply cannot do without them?)
Just as a preface, the goal of my life is to do things that matter with people I enjoy being around. Social media facilitates this purpose. I'll go through each and explain.

Twitter: I get my news by following my favorite authors and commentators on Twitter. Their opinions are very challenging to me. I also found out about Steve Job's death on Twitter. I am able to drive traffic to my blog through twitter where I post my new posts regularly. I find it very useful for promoting my events and finding out "what’s going on." Especially on SOPA and PIPA. Its just such a great way of sensing the buzz.

Facebook: FB as I like to refer to it has helped me in so many ways. Let's start with professionally. I am now a professional Improv actor. I have shows weekly. I can post that I am having a show and my 600+ friends will know and maybe consider coming. When my improv troupe has a show in another city, I can search my friends by city to let those specific ones know I'll be in town with the group so they can come out and watch. I can also find out about improv shows that my friends are putting on and classes occurring in the area. When someone comes to a show, they can quickly join the FB group to follow our improv group and get updates on what we are up to.

I am the division governor in Toastmasters. We use FB to promote events and share pictures from recent events. Post videos of speech winners. Share news and tips.
FB has also improved my personal life, as I can see pictures from my little brothers and sisters in Key West and keep up with their many activities. I can also IM with them easily if we are both on at the same time. This has allowed me to stay in their lives even though I can rarely get the time to call them. We also post our poems for our poetry contests which are such a good time.

For my swing dancing, I can keep up on bands playing and parties. I can also advertise parties I am having quickly and easily. I also make so many new contacts from swing dancing who I can quickly look up and then find out what other interests we have in common. Often they are in some other one of my interest groups and then our paths might cross in other areas. For example, just last night I met someone who might become the illustrator for a comic book that I came up with last year. Its sort of a Count of Monte Cristo idea and I've been looking for an illustrator who can help me make it happen. We met on the dance floor got to talking about what he does and decided to do it right there. Now I can find him quickly on FB instead of having to trade a lot of contact information.

My Smart Phone (iPhone): Why do I LOVE my iPhone? Let me count the ways:
1. Last year I finished 55 books, most of them I listened to on my iPhone. app allowed me to do that. I listen to books whenever I am driving, showering, cooking, walking, doing house work, shopping, ect. I have an membership which gives me a discount and one free book a month. Its so convenient because its with me, I have a iphone amplifier in my bathroom, a jack in my car, and headphones for other times.
2. The economist app allows me to listen to the economist word for word.
3. Email - I can quickly reply to emails without having to sit down at my computer. This allows me to be free but make sure I don't miss anything important in my improv troupe, Toastmasters, or any of my other activities.
4. MAPS!! I used to get lost all the time. Now I have my google maps on my iphone and trust me. It’s saved me so many times but especially when I am travelling.
5. Kindle app allows me to read a book from my huge kindle library especially the Bible when I am in Church.
6. Pandora app allows me to listen to almost any kind of music by letting me select an artist or song I really like and it then creates a radio station based on that preference. I am still just getting into this, but its 3.99 a month and so worth it! My favorite stations are Whitetown and Wade in the Water. You can book mark artists and songs so that you can find more by them on iTunes and buy the song if you want.
7. Chess app allows my husband and I to play each other any where. We really love this.
8. Calendar allows me to add events as people invite me during a conversation and make sure I don't double book which is so embarrassing!

There are of course a couple of down sides:
1. I often don’t look up the exact directions to somewhere till I am in my car ready to go, or even at a stop light which has caused me some problems with ending up at the wrong place because I typed the address in incorrectly. I now force myself to get the directions programmed in before I leave my house.
2. Sometimes during a dinner with my wonderful husband I get tempted to check my email or texts. I just have to force myself to not worry about it.

2. What would be (or is) the worst part(s) about trying to communicate and/or maintain any kind of relationship with someone who doesn't text or use social media?
Well who knows how much you’re missing. My life is enriched everyday by my social media and smart phone.

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