The Not-so-Smooth Road to Social Media

I was born in the mid 80’s and pretty much grew up in the 90’s/early 2000’s. My parents surprised my sisters and I with our first computer in 1994, which looking back is kind of crazy. We didn’t struggle as a family but we certainly didn’t have loads of money, so having a computer was a huge luxury.

I was finally gifted my first stereo CD player in eighth grade (1999), way after all my friends already had them along with a CD collection (my first CD was Blink-182, if you’re wondering). And I think it was in middle school, my friends and I would use chat rooms on AOL.

By the way, these are all words that I haven’t used or seen in a long time and they sound so archaic!

Fast forward a bit to junior/senior year (2002/2003). Texting was becoming a thing and some people used it and others thought it was stupid- “Why can’t you just call, gawd!” (please use snotty tone of voice when reading that last part). I had a Nokia cell phone that I left in my car while at school because I was too scared to bring it in the building and be caught with it. One time, a classmate forgot to silence her phone and it rang and the teacher looked like she was going to blow her lid! It was a huge deal, everyone was scared. What do teachers and schools even do when this happens now? I don’t even know what the cellphone policies are these days in schools…

Anyways, that was a fun trip down memory lane! Looking back, I can’t believe how far I’ve come with using social media and online platforms based on the type of technology I grew up with. I’m in no way tech or social media savvy, however, I don’t think I’m doing too bad considering I only found out what Myspace was when it was already fizzling out.

I’ve come a long way in the last ten years on how I use social media. I look back on some of my first Facebook posts…ugh, what was I even talking about?! Embarrassing. I’ve grown up a bit and started to become more conscious on what I put out there in social media land. Professionally and personally, I started to use social media to promote myself (my brand), connect to users who share the same interests and goals, and to explore and discover different facets in the marketing industry as well as overall interests I have.

As a college student, I am focused on promoting myself in a professional way. A big way I am able to promote myself is through working in retail. I’ve met so many people with different backgrounds and lifestyles, both customers and co-workers, that I have connected with on social media. Many having their own businesses. This way of connecting professionally by engaging with people at my job is basically career networking, but I’m doing it face to face on a daily basis. Networking using social media seems to become more and more of a huge deal year after year and the place to do it is on LinkedIn. Face to face networking is important and should for sure be done in conjunction with social media networking. I’m glad I prefer to have a good mix of both.

I started a LinkedIn page about a year or so ago and update it here and there as I complete courses and gain experience. I haven’t fully utilized it quite yet, but I feel like I’ve been getting my career-ducks in a row lately and I am ready to take it to the next level. LinkedIn is a huge resource for job seeking, promoting yourself and/or business, and is a great way to develop relationships with people of similar business interests. So far, I have not had any job opportunities that align with my career goals but as I gain experience, I’m sure that will change.  

Being able to connect with the community using social media has made a world of difference! It’s so much easier to find information and answers to community related topics, not to mention being able to search for events in your area. You can even search other areas for their local events if you are planning to travel to those areas. Facebook is my favorite platform to use for community related information. It seems it is the platform that is most widely used for communities. Just today actually, I looked up the City of Green Bay Facebook page to find out the dates for leaf pick-up. Although totally NOT exciting information, it was a very helpful way to find what I was looking for, and quickly.

Using social media to professionally or personally explore and discover basically anything you want, is another reason why it is so important. Social media allows me to research different fields within marketing. For example, I am interested in community related marketing and that is why I pay close attention to Downtown Green Bay, Inc.’s as well as the On Broadway Inc.’s Facebook pages. These pages give information on events happening in these areas of Green Bay as well as promoting businesses in both districts. This is exactly the type of work I want to do and social media helps me to not only stay in the loop, but also see how marketers in that type of marketing are promoting and engaging with the community and it’s users.

“…We’re hearing that beyond the borders of our county, people are talking about Green Bay. We’re really pleased to know that Green Bay’s downtown and Main Street District and throughout downtown, has some good energy and a lot of confidence,” said Downtown Green Bay executive director, Jeff Mirkes.

Fox 11 News, March 5th 2020.

I’ve come a long way from AOL chatrooms and instant messaging. A part of me thinks if my parents didn’t buy that computer when I was nine years old, I don’t think I would have the computer skills I have to be as efficient as I am when using social media. Who knew playing Oregon Trail and Sim City would open the gates into something greater down the road, like social media?    

4 thoughts on “The Not-so-Smooth Road to Social Media

  1. Its really interesting to see the way that different generations interact with technology and social media in particular. Kids nowadays are so aware of everything going on with social media and technology they are really in the thick of it, while older generations tend to use it much more sparingly and almost only when they need to in some instances.


  2. The way you talk about students in school really intrigues me. I was mostly homeschooled in high school, so it is hard to remember what its like to have teachers being strict about phones. I’m only 20, I was born in 2000. I did experience strict high school teachers. But I keep seeing myself in a college setting, where most of the instructors I had are much more laid back. Basically because it is up to us to pay attention enough to get test answers and stuff.


  3. Rachel, I too am quite new to social media. My first cell phone was in college as I am a bit older than you are, being born in the 70’s. It was the same in college lecture classes with a ringing phone. The professor was utterly displeased at the disrespect of having a phone ring during their lecture. How dare you!

    Now my kids have to leave their phones in their lockers during the day except for lunch, that’s the only time they may have the phone on them without a penalty. Otherwise, I think the teacher can take the phone away.


    1. That’s good to know that students still have to keep their phones out of the classroom! I just kept picturing students on their phones and no one listening to the teacher lol


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