My first foray into new media was right around the fourth grade. Nine-years-old and I had my first email address (Hurricaneem16@aol.com). Nothing was more entertaining to my younger-self than calling up my best friend (Soccermania91@aol.com) to inform her that I had sent her an email, and that she should respond ASAP. I am confident that if any of this BFF correspondence were documented it would have consisted of a simple, “Hi. What is up?” or something along those lines.
Now a rising Senior at Penn State University, my how things have changed. My Gmail account allows all three of my email addresses to be funneled into one location. I have a TweetDeck account so that my professional and nonprofessional Twitter accounts can be managed accordingly. I visit my Facebook more times in one day than is healthy, and my Instagram account tweets out a link every time I post a photo. Holy social media! It’s safe to say the phone call/email correspondence I had going on way back in 2000, would not cut it in 2012.
Some have described this social media centric, new media world as living life in a fish bowl. I say it’s more like living in Sea World. Nothing is entertaining about watching a fish circle his bowl, and nothing is entertaining about only following someone on twitter. The people want Sea World, and that is what their getting. The mundane has become equally as fascinating as the larger events that used to spark public conversation. Both the fantastical and the ordinary are open for discussion and the forum is all things social media.
Over the past three years of my college experience social media has been an integral piece. Meeting and sustaining new friends the first couple weeks of freshman year was made infinitely easier thanks to Facebook, as was that first summer apart from all these budding friendships. Twitter offers students minute to minute updates on not only their social lives but also real world news. Its not just college social life that has been impacted either, higher education is on board. Professors rely on email for handing in assignments and for instant communication with their students. New media has permeated not just our social agendas but also our educational agendas.
So yes, college life and new media are most likely going to be intertwined for a very long time. Yes, new media is constantly changing and growing. Yes, the world is watching, but hey, if we are living in Sea World we might as well take advantage of the benefits of all this connectivity because it’s highly unlikely that things will ever go backwards. New media is here to stay.