MSN, Facebook, Vine, OH MY!

#ECI831

Have you ever thought back to your very first email address?

Were you one of those people who were all business and just had “firstname.lastname”? Or were you one of those people, like me, who are still embarrassed to bring it up to this day? I still shudder when I think back to how cool I felt when I created the email “mandi_muffin1”.

via MEME

Since I’d rather not sit in that embarrassment alone, I decided to ask some other people what their first email address was. Here are some good ones:

  • “spiderman85”
  • “pet_luver10”
  • “regis_philbin”(not to be confused with the real Regis Philbin, just a big fan)
  • and my personal favourite… “cutiepatootie94”

For me, my first email address was like a key to the digital world. I used it to get my very first social networking platform- MSN Messenger. I remember when MSN first became popular. There was such excitement of meeting your friends in a vastly different way- on the computer instead of face to face. The new platform grew like wild-fire and soon all my friends were a part of this new community. This was often the case with online trends. First a few people would get hooked, and then soon it would be the only thing people talked about or took part in. Some social network trends only lasted for a little while, but some are still thriving to this day.

This got me thinking- what social networks actually impacted me? How was I affected by them? I decided to give a brief timeline called:

“Social Media & Me- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

1. Facebook:

I was in grade 7 when I first signed up for Facebook. It was a different world than it is now. “Food fights”, writing on “walls”, “Amanda is…” status updates. It was a fun way for me to connect with friends, show pictures, and update the world on what was new with my life. It was also a way for me to gain “friends” online. I felt a strange sense of accomplishment when I had a friend request or if I had another post on my “wall”. With this new territory came this new idea that I needed my life to look a certain way. This is still often the case with social media. A subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) competition on who has the most likes, and in turn, who has the most exciting life. The need for online validation through likes and comments, which started soon after the Facebook world made an appearance, is still something that many people battle with today, including myself.

2. Twitter:

Sometimes I wish I didn’t sign up for Twitter until I had more mature things to say, but we all have regrets in life. In order to give you context, I searched back to my old tweets from 2013 to show you some of the brilliant things I had to say about life.

For example: “I love fireworks” and “Jake Owen marry me”. Clearly I didn’t have any troubles fitting my riveting content into 140 characters.

After soon realizing there was more of a purpose for Twitter, I started using it for educational reasons and connected with other educators online. I soon grew my PLN (Personal Learning Network) through twitter chats, blogging, and “Tweet Ups”. I felt like I had a teaching community outside of my school, and it helped me feel less alone in my teaching woes and endeavours. However, with every good social networking platform, there comes concerns. With me, I had (and still have) a hard time not comparing myself to other teachers. When I see all of the creative, thought provoking, and engaging things that other teachers are doing in their classroom, it’s hard not to compare myself to them. I’m sure that there are several of you out there who struggle with the same thing. How do we get past comparing and move to confidence? That’s still the journey I find myself on and work towards to this day.

3. Instagram:

Exhibit B
Exhibit A

Instagram is still one of my favourite social media platforms to this day. I am a visual learner, so I love seeing quick snap shots of other people’s lives. When I first got Instagram, I would post any picture, write a short caption, and think it was Instagram gold.

There came a point though, when Instagram became about gaining followers and likes, which was difficult to keep up with. I’m embarrassed to say, but there used to be times when I would take down a photo if I didn’t get at least 100 likes. I know. Don’t judge me. It’s a crazy standard to set for oneself. A couple of years ago I had a change of heart. I turned my account to private, stopped following people who were not “giving me joy”, and set a new standard for myself. My continued desire is that it would be less about likes and followers for me, and more about connecting with my community through photos. And not to mention, tagging my friends in endless memes.

4. Vine & Tik Tok:

Oh how I loved Vine. A creative outlet to make people laugh through short 7 second videos. As Rebecca Jennings says in the article “Tiktok, Explained”, Vine was “brutally murdered before its time”. The app truly died too soon. If I ever wanted a “pick-me-up”, I would search through the feed of Vine and find the latest, laughable video by the newest Vine sensation. The app didn’t last nearly long enough, but there is something that is seen as, according to Rebecca Jennings, the “joyful, spiritual successor to Vine”. Tiktok- the latest fad in the online world. An app that, similarly to Vine, allows users to upload short clips of themselves dancing, singing, or following the latest viral trends. Seems like all fun and games, right? Unfortunately, every social media platform has its downfalls. Even though I’m not on Tiktok enough to know every latest trend, I do know that the youth who use this app encounter similar issues as I did as a teen, and still do today.

Comparison. The need for validation. Fear of rejection.

Are there enough benefits to outweigh the negative impacts of social media though? In my opinion, yes.

Social media has brought me a lot of positivity in my years of using it. Laughter, connectivity, knowledge, community, encouragement, and support. The list goes on. Yes, there have been many regrets and disappointments through the years of using these social networking platforms, but the same goes with my life outside of social media. So will I continue to interact with others online through social media? Absolutely.

Besides, everyone is in need of a good laugh every now and then by looking back at posts from the early days, browsing the latest memes, and of course, reminiscing on our first cringe-worthy email addresses.

10 thoughts on “MSN, Facebook, Vine, OH MY!

  1. Hahaha… the fist email address. Mine was saskcowboy@yahoo.ca, just wow. This is why you aren’t allowed to get a tattoo before you are 18. I think it was Matteo that said “social media doesn’t forget”. This is the bizarre learning curve facing our youth, these videos and pictures are forever. I am very thankful my teenage years weren’t caught on camera.

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    1. Great choice with the first email address! haha. I am so glad that I didn’t do anything I would have regretted online when I was a teenager. That’s why teaching kids about digital citizenship is so important! Kids have an incredible tool with technology and social media, but they need to know how to use it. “With great power comes great responsibility”… Thanks for reading!

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  2. I really relate to your feelings about the comparative nature of social media. You’re so right – making sure that we take the time to limit who has access to us and to only allow others access if they bring us joy is key! Thanks for the great read!

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    1. Thanks for reading! It’s been a tough lesson for me to learn, and I am still journeying through it today, but it has definitely made it easier for me to put boundaries on who has access to my personal life online.

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  3. Great blog. Thanks for sharing your social media journey. When you first started this journey was there anyone that ‘guided’ you or talked about ‘digital citizenship’ as you started with on Facebook when you were in Grade 7? If not, do you think you journey would have been much different. Do you talk to the students you teach and use your experience to give them some food for thought? I am a little older so I didn’t have this experience through my teens and into my 20s so it’s really interesting to read someone’s reflection on social media’s effect during those years and where they are now. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Dean! Unfortunately I did not have much guidance as I was introduced to social media when I was younger. I think it was because it was new for not only kids, but for adults too. I don’t think anyone knew what it would develop into. Fortunately though, my parents taught me how to be a good citizen offline. I think the skills and lessons they taught me in real life transferred to my online skills, so I don’t think it would have been much different for me. As a grade 3 teacher, I spend a lot of time teaching my students about digital citizenship. I think it’s so important that they have the skills and knowledge as they grow older and spend more time with technology. Thanks for your input!

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  4. Hi Amanda, I really enjoyed reading your post for this assignment. It was like a walk down memory lane!! And also hilarious — mostly because I can totally relate to being embarrassed by “riveting” posts from the past. A couple years ago I went back and deleted a ton of old posts, especially on Facebook. While I was in high school, no one taught us about privacy, digital identity, etc. because Facebook was brand new and my friends and I wrote any random thought that popped in our minds onto each other’s “walls”. I figured I better go back and erase some of the pointless posts that kept popping up in my Facebook memories.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Brooke! I honestly think I might try deleting some old posts. I have the app Time Hop that allows me to see what I posted on that day in the years past, and sometimes a post will come up that I am so embarrassed to see. It definitely keeps me humble haha. Glad you enjoyed your walk down memory lane!

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