My former classmate Jennifer asked if I would let her share a guest blog post. It’s nice to get a peek into the mind of another social media enthusiast and coffee lover. Without further ado, meet Jennifer.
I’m Jennifer: amateur writer, Facebook junkie, comic enthusiast, and never without something to read in arm’s reach. I drink way too much coffee. I’m engaged to the best man I’ve had the luck of meeting, Josh, and am headed back to school for a degree in Organization Communication and Public Relations. We’re shacked up in a little bungalow in Canton with our four cats.
There’s no question that technology has expanded our horizons far beyond what they were even five years ago. Our access to news and information is unprecedented and vast, and I use the internet for these reasons as much as the next person. For me, however, the most valuable resource that technology has to offer is the myriad of ways I can explore my world through social media. After all, I’ve always been able to find information on, for example, the lifespan of a fruit fly.
I just had to work a little harder to get it. I’ve always had TV news networks, they were just not quite as current as the information I can get now. What is different is my ability to connect.
See, I have fairly severe social anxiety. At its best, it’s a little inconvenient but I can work past it pretty easily. At its worst, it’s debilitating and the mere thought of going out to meet a friend for coffee or picking up a phone can give me a full-blown panic attack. With the evolution of social media and the way it’s increasingly entwined with nearly everyone and everything out there my options for being involved and interacting with the world around me have broadened significantly.
The most used apps on my phone? Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. Tumblr.
My social media presence isn’t necessarily loud, but it’s extensive. My favorite resource is Facebook, but I use them all. Businesses are on Facebook and Twitter. If I want to know when my favorite comic shop opens, or what the day of their big sale is, I can look it up on their Facebook page. If I have a comment or suggestion for a company, I can send them a tweet. I recently adopted a kitten, and social media was the reason I found the shelter group on Facebook, was notified of a cat event they were having not too far from me, and was able to post a picture of my happy kitten snuggled in his new home to update them on how well he was adapting.
Nearly everyone I know is on Pinterest I can send someone I don’t speak to very often anymore a pin of, say, a tattoo I think they’ll find interesting and therefore stay connected. I crowd-source information on Facebook often. “Does anyone have a dentist recommendation?” or “What is the best way to get grass stains out of my jeans?” are both ones that I’ve used in the past. Social media gives me access to a network of people I wouldn’t be able to maintain otherwise. I can even join groups through the University of Akron online, get updates about events, and connect to people so that I am more comfortable actually attending functions and don’t feel anxious about walking in blind.
For an introvert like myself, especially one who has anxiety issues, social media is a lifeline. It allows me to interact with my world in a way that I never would have been comfortable doing before. Our world is only becoming more and more interconnected and I try to take advantage of every new opportunity to get involved with what’s going on around me that the internet offers.
Social media has widely expanded my opportunities to explore my world, primarily through providing a way to connect with people in a way that suits my needs and personality.
Rachel wants to know:
In what ways has social media and/or technology helped you explore your world?