I’ve been using social media for far longer than I care to admit. I was attending one of those Boston-area colleges for grad school shortly after Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in a Harvard dorm room. I was using something called Friendster at the time to stay in touch with a lot of my undergrad friends. Then, one day, one of my co-workers at my work-study job, sent me an invite to The FaceBook, as it was called back in the early days. I was like, “What the heck is this? It’s never going to catch on…”
Zuckerberg has created a worldwide phenomenon that people everywhere can’t live without. It’s almost as common as email or a phone number to have a Facebook page these days. People set them up for their children as soon as they’re born so they can have a recollection years later of their birth and every other milestone in between.
Shortly after I earned my Master’s degree, I started working at one of the top children’s hospitals in the country. It was only supposed to be a temporary position. However, they saw my experience with social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.) and helped me find a niche as one of the earliest “social media managers” before that was even really a job title, like it commonly is today at companies, universities and organizations all over the globe. Since then, I’ve managed a hugely popular online community for a large nonprofit organization that helps individuals living with a rare disease, along with my own personal social media “brand” through blogs and videos, Tweets and Instagrams. I’ve seen directly how social media can be used as a tool for individuals living with chronic illness to connect with one another and learn how to be stronger advocates in their own health care. How it can help professionals network in a global workforce to enhance their skills and leadership qualities, and stay on top of best practices.
But, I’ve also seen the dark side. The bullying, the harsh commentaries, and shadowy reality that can occur in closed Facebook groups, 140 characters on Twitter, or in a discussion board community.
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Simon Sinek, a British motivational speaker and marketing consultant, spoke with Tom Bilyeu, host of Inside Quest, to summarize what social media is doing to the millennial generation. As someone who is on the cusp of both Gen X and the Millennial generations, I don’t relate to many of the true millennial characteristics but this does a great job to sum up the emotional and biological effect that social media has on people of our modern society: Continue reading “Grief and the Social Media Effect”