My thoughts on social media.

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.

5 Replies to “My thoughts on social media.”

  1. Riley,

    Great post! The world of social media is definitely two-fold. I love the idea of being able to connect with people and network for professional and personal reasons. However, it can become overwhelming and sometimes invasive. I appreciate that you mention the idea of boundaries, as I think that is key to maintaining a healthy balance in regard to a social media presence. During the pandemic, I have found social media a great way to connect with others during isolation, but it has also been used to spread a lot of false information too. It really is a love/hate relationship sometimes!

    Well done!

  2. Gillian Crocker says: Reply

    Hi Riley! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and the journey that has led you to a more private approach to the use of social media. This really resonates with me. I have watched numerous loved ones go through very difficult things and observed the varied way this has been handled in ‘the public eye’. Like you, I lean towards sharing in more private spaces. I am actually very bothered by comments I see on posts at times. I find myself wondering what it is people are truly seeking and if they are gaining it through these means. A piece of me sees the value and loves many components of social media while the other piece of me completely hates it. Like you, I find embarking on this journey of increasing my professional presence on social media to be daunting. However, I too hope I will come out of this having learned some new and useful things. You are definitely not alone as you try to maintain boundaries while simultaneously managing it all! I am with ya!

  3. Hello Riley. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I also have mixed feelings about social media. It seems too common for people to default to Facebook chat when face to face conversations should be the communication medium especially in sensitive areas like a Covid -19 outbreak and shutdown. As per your approach, I will also strive to be open-minded to social media and a more active participant in our eci831 professional learning network.

  4. Thank you for sharing your very personal experiences. I applaud you for creating and maintaining social media boundaries, as this isn’t an easy thing to do. Although some people tend to want to comment on everything (regardless of social cues), sometimes what they say can stick with a person long after you have posted. I know that as teachers, we tell our kids to acknowledge the hurt, then start to take steps to move past it, although sometimes social media comments seem to stick with us a lot longer than we anticipate. I also like how you talked about some of the good things that have come from social media, such as your mom’s group during the pandemic. What a good way to connect with others in similar shoes. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Riley,
    You have a great opening blog. I enjoyed reading about the two main forms of how social media is used in your social circles. My wife, Kendra is currently on a maternity leave with our second son, and she had made use different community group pages and Instagram accounts to help answer questions and learn new tricks. One of the biggest live savers she found was an online forum that discussed a sleep training program or course. We were both hesitant to begin that journey, but boy has it every paid off!

    I am also hoping that I can remain open minded to learn new things about social media, while not allowing social media to consume my life. Fingers crossed that we can maintain a healthy balance.

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