Social media is a huge aspect of most people’s lives in college, and it certainly takes some hours out of my day. Especially when I do homework, I like to put in some social media brakes. But, social media has pros and cons, like most things in life. However, I find it interesting what other college students think about the different aspects of social media, and how they use it. There are several ways to look at social media, and how it affects everyday life. In this blog-post, you will get to know three different approaches to social media.
First out is Max, he is a 24-year-old exchange student from Germany. Before interviewing Max, I knew that he isn’t the most active social media user. I asked him straight up what he thought about social media. And, as a stereotypical German guy, he responded in a very short and concise way, “Good and bad.”. After explaining to him that I needed some more information in order to provide a more in-depth look about his thoughts on the matter, he took some time to think. Then he said, “I miss the time where I could bike over to a friends house and ask if he wanted to do something fun. I would rather go talk to people in real life instead of talking to a screen. When that is said, social media also provides a platform where I can communicate with my friends at home.”
After the German guy comes Jesper, he’s 22 years old and from Sweden. Jesper is a transfer student here at SUNY Oswego. Before interviewing Jesper, I knew that he spend more time on social media platforms than Max. Both Jesper and Max use social media platforms to keep track of what their friends do at home. With that in mind, I asked him if he thought social media is important. “Yes and no. It’s easier to connect with people our age through social media because everyone is on it, but it also consumes too much time, and I feel we become more socially awkward in the real world.”.
I agree with both Max and Jesper. Especially when the nostalgia of old and better times kick in. Even though I think everyone feels that way, even my parents and grandparents have good nostalgic memories of old and better times. And they didn’t have social media until they were real adults. I don’t necessarily think the nostalgic memories is because we didn’t have social media growing up, but rather the memory of childish energy.
Today, 15 years after I had that childish energy, I spend a lot of time staring at my phone. I have realized it also takes time to adjust to the real world after a social media session. And, I’m sure other college students find it hard as well. Walking around campus, people rarely look at other people, they are afraid of eye-contact with people they don’t know. And probably 30% of everyone I see walking on campus is looking at their phone.
When I scroll through my Instagram, I see people using social media platforms to sell themselves in a professional way. Many of them are what you can categorize as social media personalities. But, do you need thousands of followers to be able to sell yourself in a professional way and make money from social media. With other words, is it possible for us regular people to make money from social media, and if yes how do you do it?
After thinking about that, I immediately called my friend Otto. This summer we had a deep conversation talking about life. He mentioned that he had gotten modeling jobs and DJ-jobs through his Instagram account. When I called him, we again talked about life and he told me that he had gotten more jobs through social media. And, that he had gotten a lot of good feedback on his half-professional Instagram stories. I asked him how much time he spends producing these stories, “It really depends on the production. If it’s for Instagram-story, I might use between 10 minutes to a couple of hours. However, the half-professional Instagram stories I post is something that I like putting down a lot of effort into. People’s attention span is so short, and that’s why I put a lot of work into very few seconds of content. As of now, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on the short-but-cool stories.”
I later asked him about his thoughts about social media. “Personally, I use Instagram as a promotion page of myself. I’m a DJ, a photographer and a marketing student trying to make money and land gigs. A lot of people use their Instagram for pure fun, which is totally fine, and heavy gear upgrades won’t be necessary.”
As you can see, Otto has an agenda in his use of Instagram. He is interested in media, and he’s a tech-nerd. This might be a weak excuse for why he’s using social media to promote himself. But, I really think he’s onto something interesting. The way people use, especially Instagram, has changed a lot since 2012 when it was purely for fun. It is important to take advantage of the opportunities it creates, something I think Otto does.