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Social media allows me to be more connected to my friends and my family and to create connections with future employers. I moved from Minnesota to California for college, without knowing anyone else attending Pepperdine. Social media has allowed me to stay connected with family and friends. The connection is instant if we are both able to talk, and due to the constant new information that is on an Instagram feed, I can see the most recent pictures and experiences of my friends and family back in Minnesota. Social media also makes it easier to plan different things when I am home, as I can see where people have posted and then know who else is in town.
I also have a lot of family around the world. Though I have been able to visit the Philippines and Canada where most of my family lives, it is hard to keep up to date with how they are doing by trying to coordinate times for long-distance phone calls with extreme time zone differences. Social media allows us to send pictures back and forth about our current lives. This also grants me the opportunity to share with large parts of my family through one post on Instagram or Facebook whatever is going on with my life.
A specific example of social media connecting me to others is demonstrated in my internship and housing situation for the summer. After finally getting an internship in South Carolina, I realized that I did not know anyone living in the area. I posted on Facebook that I would be working with the ABC 15 station in Myrtle Beach. I did not know if any of my various friends or family would know anyone in the area, but I was able to reach out to all of them through that post, instead of trying to call people. My cousin in North Carolina quickly responded. She was able to get in touch with me and get me connected with her old youth minister, Josh Finklea, who is now pastoring a church in the Myrtle Beach area. Through Josh, I was able to Find (almost free) housing, a job (as my internship was unpaid), a church family, and opportunities to get quickly invested and involved in the community. If I did not have social media, I would not be able to talk to my many friends that I made this summer. We can watch shows “together” and share information gathered from spoiler accounts.
Social media’s ability to connect people through job sites such as LinkedIn has strengthened the relationships I have made during short conferences and has allowed me to make further connections through those individuals. If I were looking fora connection to a specific area or station, I can check LinkedIn for people I already know who know people in the area or station, or who have moved to that area since I last checked in with them. The connectivity of social media allows me to share my experiences, resume and reel to a wider variety of people outside of the circle that I know.
Carlie Ott is a student at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California majoring in Journalism. Carlie is in in Jon Pfeiffer’s media law class. The class covers social media and First Amendment issues. Carlie wrote the above essay in response to the following question: Does social media make you feel more connected or more isolated?
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