Archive | August 2014

“You’re in Boston?”:The Personal Value of Social Media

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I recently realized the true value of social media. This story isn’t actually about social media. It is about how social media can help you be more social…for real. Let me back up for a moment.

The idea of social media has always been about connecting people. Mark Zuckerberg connected college students with one another, and now Facebook has connected the entire world. Twitter was founded on the premise that individual thoughts are important, and that others will care about what you have to say. The concept of social media was always meant to be just that: social.

But there’s an issue.

The idea of being social has now become more about interacting with screens than with each other.

We’ve become more interested in how many favorites we get than how many eyebrows we raise.

We don’t tell stories because we don’t need to; there’s video for that. We’ve moved toward likes, comments, swipes, and (unfortunately) pokes instead of high fives, hugs, and genuine smiles. While social media has been working to connect the world, I certainly don’t feel more connected when sitting alone in my room reading my Twitter feed.

There is a solution.

I am not anti-social media. On the contrary, I use it every single day. This past weekend, I was given a very clear reminder of the true value social media offers.

While taking a weekend trip to Boston to visit a college friend named Sully, I sent a tweet saying how excited I was to be in the city.

Now, my best friend from high school has done pretty well for himself. His name is Ethan Finlay. He played soccer at Creighton University and was drafted 10th overall in the MLS Superdraft in 2012. He now plays professionally for the Columbus Crew and has worked his way into the starting lineup.

Little did I know that the same day I was visiting Sully, the Columbus Crew was playing the New England Revolution just a stone’s throw away from Boston. Here’s the tweet Ethan sent me:

Not only did I attend the game with Sully, Ethan got us seats in a suite which provided an amazing view for the game-winning goal he scored in the 84th minute. After the game, we were able to meet up with Ethan and his teammates (two of them had played in the World Cup; fun to see them in person).

None of this would have happened without social media. I sent one tweet, got a response, and made it happen. This is the personal value of social media: to help us become truly social.

The next time you are bored, resorting to your Twitter feed for entertainment, use it to make a real connection. Send a tweet that says, “Anyone want to get coffee?” Use social media to build your connections. Use social media to truly get connected.

The real connections that can come from social media just might raise your eyebrows.

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