The beauty of social networking.
Why do I enjoy social networking? Here are some of the reasons I have discovered.
Friendship: I have made many friendships online. Some culminating in actual meetings in real life. For example the 'Twestival" of recent times, Feb 12th (A Twitter users gathering, which was in aid of charity: Water.) I met some twitter people there and enjoyed it.
Latest news on many topics: I have watched many current affairs and trends occur in real time or near real time, mainly through Twitter, Digg, sometimes Friendfeed... There is so many networks, all with unique angles and great resources and information to share. And so many interesting people. News spreads through social networks these days even faster than any traditional media before. Interesting times ahead.
Personal development: Truly, I mean this. There is so many great people online, opening up and sharing parts of themselves with the world. This article by Mashable (Pete Cashmore) Does Social Media Make Us Better People? brings up some issues around this, and has some interesting comments there too.
I have done many silly things and made plenty of poor decisions on the internet, (as in real life) quite possibly offended some people... But I do learn. I appreciate the opportunities social media and the internet as a whole give me to learn from any successes I may have and mistakes I make. The wrong decisions I have made, long term will be important learning factors for me... And rather than just regret things I take note and try to change those behaviours or self reflect a little.
I think social networking and social media is definitely changing me as a person, for the better. I was utterly humbled recently when I mentioned that you can donate to the Australian Red Cross - Victorian Bushfire Appeal (In aid of the sufferers of the recent bushfires in Victoria, which are still going as I type) and people replied that they had donated.
It is hard to describe that feeling when I received the replies but I was truly grateful for what I had (And still am right now) and totally appreciative of the people for helping. I have had some truly moving moments, whilst sitting at this same keyboard looking at the same monitor... I've been happy, elated, frustrated. annoyed, excited, laughed till it hurt.
I have begun truly seeing social media websites as communities, that I am a part of... and I wish to be accountable for my actions in. We all have opinions, and I just wan't to make the obvious perfectly clear. My opinions are only that... we're all just people really, sharing the same planet, same water, same air, same internet.
I Truly believe, the key to social media, is first and foremost - Be social. That is how I try to make the most of it, and share what I've learnt, and have a fun time.
There is some pretty interesting info on social networks at wikipedia.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to leave any feedback and some of your experience in the comments if you like. I am always interested to hear others opinions. You can always give me any feedback or ideas here, Twitter or anywhere else you find me online.