My relationship with social media has been a long one, to say the least. It has not existed for my entire life, but it has existed for my formative and adult years. This all began for me with MSN Messenger, on my family’s HP desktop, located in our family room. I believe this entered our household when I was in grade 8. This had a huge impact on my friend groups and my beginning high school especially. During last week’s class, we discussed how for many of us, this is how we began talking to boys we liked. This was, in fact, how I began talking to my now-husband. The early social networking site did solidify a relationship, although we have been talking in person ever since!
Throughout high school and university, I was fairly active on social media outlets appropriate for the time, using Facebook and Instagram. Twitter was not very common in university for me, until I took an ECMP 355 class with Dean Shareski, where I did begin to use Twitter for educational networking. I found that once I began working as a teacher, I used Twitter as a part of my staff to update the community on what was happening in my art room at the time, which was fun to do.
I have found for me personally, that once I had some more personal things happening in my life (to put it briefly some life changing medical events), I found myself less wanting to be posting on social media on a regular basis; I’d post updates now and then, mostly to alleviate those asking questions about my progress and bothering my family. This attitude has remained as I have begun to raise my family, I post every now and then about my family and include a cute photo of my son, but I find now that I share more in more private settings with my close friends and family in group chats, whatsapp and iMessage. Hilariously enough, I only really use Facebook messenger to connect with my Nana (my mom’s mom) to send pictures of my son to her, since cell service is so poor where she lives in rural Saskatchewan!
I have found in my adulthood, after these events, that I value my privacy much more. I have found that though many people want to see and comment on my life, that sometimes people say things that I might take the wrong way, and carry with me afterwards. This has become a personal boundary to maintain my inner peace.
Common ways that social media is used in my social circles is two main forms:
The first is, on every staff I have been on, there is some sort of group chat on Facebook or some other social media site. It usually devolves pretty quickly and is not usually very professional or helpful. I unfortunately found out about our school being shut down due to a covid outbreak on one of these group chats instead of through my principal. Not great.
The second is, this is currently a very common way to connect with other moms in our community during the pandemic. I have been connected through some friends who are also parents on Facebook to people all over the city. These pages are very well run and contain lots of question forums where parents can ask questions and get feedback, suggestions or reviews on baby items, programs and tips and tricks. It’s helped a lot of isolated parents feel more connected during this time.
For me, social media is something that I have learned I need to manage my time around, as well as my own exposure to. I am intimidating to work more on this course, as it does involved more social media presence on my part, which is something I have not participated much in for many years. I am hoping I can continue to maintain my personal boundaries while remaining open-minded to learning new things.