Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The social life

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 7:00 AM

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Sometimes, introductions are tough; like right now, for instance. This is my first post on the IndyBlog, where we get to discuss the big, insane sphere of social media and its influence on the world and Colorado Springs. Introductions are supposed to be fun and informative and ... something other than it is right now. I’ve been sitting here wracking my brain for the right words. 

OK, that’s a lie — I’ve been on Pinterest. Perhaps that’s where I should start. 

If you follow me on Pinterest (CarrieKintz), you might notice that I’m a bit of an Anglophile and a foodie, and have a fondness for quotes about writing. The words of other writers never fail to inspire me, especially when writing. “My head is a hive of words that won’t settle.” These words from Virginia Woolf inspire me to make sense of the consonants and vowels rattling around in my brain. 

You might also note that I have a deep and abiding fondness for Benedict Cumberbatch and Doctor Who. (By the way, have you met the Doctor? Travels in a big blue police telephone box through time and space, usually saving the earth from aliens? If you haven’t, I recommend you rectify that immediately. Geronimo!)

If we become friends on Facebook, you’ll learn that I don’t post often, and when I do, no one sees my posts because I forget to change my settings from “only me” to “friends,” or perhaps people just don’t like what I have to say — that’s also a possibility.

Twitter (@CarrieKintz) is where I spend most of my time conversing. Here, we might have a conversation about what’s happening in Colorado Springs, new television shows, or hilarious quotes I find about celebrities on the internet like, “Channing Tatum looks like a bushel of elbows.” (Does anyone know what a bushel of elbows looks like? Discuss.) And, more than likely, there will be at least one conversation about cheese. I love cheese. 

I wouldn’t recommend following me on Google+. (Is that even still a thing?)

These ridiculous paragraphs (hopefully) highlight some of what I love about social media — there’s constant activity, and we have the ability to connect with people around the world in a way that is unprecedented. We can finally see if our eighth-grade crush actually turned out to be good looking — how did yours turn out? (I still haven’t found mine, but it’s not for lack of looking. Is that creepy? That’s probably creepy.) We can plan family and high school reunions, help our friends decide on the color of a new couch, or discuss current events. Like Ann Coulter’s bizarre rant about soccer, or Shia LeBeouf getting carted out of Cabaret for slapping total strangers. Oh, Shia. What’s happened to you?

The way we consume news has changed with our instant access to information. With a cell phone in hand, people become reporters, their photos and videos shaping the way stories are told, and getting these stories to people faster than mediums like television and radio. Major television events have been transformed by platforms like Facebook and Twitter as well. It’s rare for me to watch the Super Bowl or the Oscars without tweeting my thoughts about what’s happening, and reading timelines and feeds to see what others are saying. These experiences shape my online community, whom I trust, and from whom I get information from on a daily basis. And not just to see silly selfies or to get the latest bacon recipes.

Social media has become the community I turn to in times of disaster or tragedy. Social media allows citizens and news organizations to communicate critical information in real time — though, at times, this can create confusion. For example, during the Waldo Canyon Fire, old information was tweeted out days after it was irrelevant and people became unclear about what was really happening. However, as dramatic have events unfolded, I have seen people work hard to make sure the information shared is accurate and reliable. (Tip: Make sure you’re using the accurate hashtag for any event.)

Some of the best examples of the power of social media I’ve seen, came during the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires. I've had the opportunity to work with some amazing people in our community through social media, and fallen in love with the tender heart of Colorado Springs as we've come together to help those impacted by those devastating events.

I know our city has its differences and complexities, but the unity and charity we show in tough times has given me a deep affection for our city, and the people I’ve met through various social media channels.

Sorry. I got a little sappy there for a moment, didn’t I? If you need me, I’ll be on Twitter, talking about what I had for lunch.

Carrie Kintz is a digital communications nerd in real life. She also has a laugh that can be heard for miles, startling dogs and children, which is why she prefers the comfort of communicating in social media. She can be found hanging out on Pinterest (CarrieKintz) and Twitter (@CarrieKintz), talking about cheese or coffee. But not cheese and coffee together. Because that’s just wrong.
 

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