The social media site that I engage in with is Facebook (FB). I was travelling overseas when I originally set up my account, and it was a great way to keep in touch with family and friends back home. With the ability to store photos and post what I had been up to (with the added bonus that they could comment and contribute their own content), allowed some of my homesickness to subside. Additionally, as highlighted by Hinton and Hjorth about social media, it is evident that FB “contains offline modes of engagement…it is never entirely an online phenomenon” (2013, p. 3). I noticed the activities and conversations that I engaged in offline with friends and colleagues, had an effect on the content that we shared online. Additionally, this ‘content’ could be distributed and added to by those on the opposite side of the world. It was at this point I could see how effective FB could be used in ‘voicing’ the concerns of areas that really needed help ‘offline’, and with online engagement, get the message to where action needed to be taken.
Now that I am back in Australia, Facebook continues to keep me connected to those that I don’t see on a daily basis, making integrating back into Australia that much easier. The other benefit of FB (especially when you are a travel bug and find yourself having to be in one place for a while), is the ability to get in touch with friends from your past. With the popularity of FB, chances are old acquaintances have an FB account, and using the ‘Friend Finder’ you can simply type in their name and send a ‘Friend Request’. Not only is FB linking us online and offline, but it closes the gap between the past and present.
Hinton, S & Hjorth, L 2013, Understanding social media, SAGE Publications, London.