What if back in the day (some 40 or 50 years ago), instead of pay phones and film-loaded cameras we had the social media tools of today available in our dorm rooms and fraternity houses? Consider how the landscape would’ve changed for many of us.
I previously have written on this blog about the power of social media. While I still have so much to learn, I find that the opportunities to communicate, connect, collaborate, create, critically think, and foster change grow daily. But alas, with the beauty come a few warts.
Have you heard the term “Warholism” as it applies to social media? In short, it is the desire—and the seemingly endless chase—for fame, no matter how fleeting. It’s about looking for that 15 minutes of fame. Tina Wells (Success Magazine, December 2011, page 13) cautions that this will “eventually lead to the Facebook Effect, which occurs when millennials expose too much of their personal lives in the public domain and come to regret these decisions later in life.”
Horror stories of this over-exposure have almost become cliché. Laura A. Stokowski, in her article “Social Media and Nurses: Promising or Perilous” (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/753317?src=mp&spon=24) writes about the problems some nurses and nursing students have understanding how basic privacy issues can affect their patients as well as their own careers. Consider these ill-advised choices made by “heavy users” of social media (as described by Stokowski):
- An RN posted to her social networking site at the same time she was dispensing medication. Result? The nurse was fired.
- Nurses took photos of another nurse removing a sliver in an empty operating room. Then they posted the photos. Result? Disciplinary action.
- One nursing student had posted a photo of herself—with a tray of placenta and holding an umbilical cord. In the photo, the student’s hospital badge could be seen. Result? This so-called “Placenta incident” led to the dismissal of four student nurses from the nursing program.
While such incidents can become illustrative of the minefields in the social media landscape, they also can create a self-righteous indignation. With questions like, “How could they do such a thing?” Or “We are doomed if these are the types of decisions our young adults are making!”
Which got me to thinking, “What would we have done?” In this case, the “we” is my generation of college students. For anyone who went to college in the 1970s (or 1960s for that matter), consider the consequences if social media existed then as it does today. Conjure up that image and you might experience a little shudder up and down your spine! We may hear our contemporaries beat their chests and proclaim, “No way would I do that! I was much more discrete!”
What if back in the day (some 40 or 50 years ago), instead of pay phones and film-loaded cameras we had the social media tools of today available in our dorm rooms and fraternity houses? Consider how the landscape would’ve changed for many of us. Can we honestly say photos or videos would not have been posted from the Friday night fraternity-sorority mixer? Or that discretion would have ruled during the pledge initiation ceremony? Or that no one would have even thought of filming your roommate engaging in a competition of who could do the most shots of beer/whisky in a short period of time? Or how about the obligatory photo of the same friend passed out after said competitive event? Or….you fill in the blank. (Image at left by Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
In my forthcoming book (Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff, 3rd ed., Pearson Education), I state,
No longer do we have to wait passively for the news to reach us; we (all of us) now can be the producers. In short, social media is the phenomena that allows for consumer-generated media. It has fundamentally transformed the way we live, relate with friends and family, conduct business, and go to school…. There is absolutely no question that social media has revolutionized our world. As with any game-changing technology, life will never be the same.
Social media IS a game-changer for all of us. In more than one way.
Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!
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