My Opinions on Social Media


            Social media has exploded in popularity over the past few years.  A study conducted in 2011 showed that two thirds of American adults who go on the Internet use social media (The Huffington Post, 2011). The number of people who use social media has increased over the years. In 2004, just a little over a million people used Facebook (Yahoo, 2013). Fast forward nine years later, and now there are over a billion active Facebook users (Yahoo, 2013). In 2006, Twitter had just over 1,000 users and today there are over 218 million active users per month (Prontalinski, 2013)

Ever since I was a teenager, I have used some sort of social media. When I was in middle school, I used a Xanga site. I would spend hours on that site, writing posts about my life, seeing what everyone else had on their own sites, changing my background, putting songs that would repeat on the site whenever someone clicked on my page. A few years later, I upgraded to Myspace and added people into my “Top Ten” friends list, post entries about my life, added countdown tools to counting down to “important” dates like the end of the school year, my sixteenth birthday or a school dance. Eventually, I also got a Facebook when it became open to high school students. I was so confused by that site, and treated it like a Myspace. I remember when the word “is” was stuck in the status, and it limited what you could say. I remember that I would have poke wars with my friends, seeing who could poke each other the fastest. Facebook eventually killed my love of Myspace, and now I spend most of my time using Facebook. I also have a Twitter and LinkedIn, but find most of my time using Facebook.

            There are many pros and cons to using social media . Social media is a great way to network yourself. You can connect with potential employers or job mentors almost instantly. Many employers are choosing to ditch the paper and become more “green” by accepting only online applications or LinkedIn profiles. For example, I have been applying for many jobs in my career path lately. Many of the websites give an option to apply right from your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn also gives you the opportunity to “sell yourself” to a potential employer, highlighting your best qualities, and many times, giving you more room to do so than a traditional resume. Social media is also a great way to connect with old friends you’ve lost touch with or family members or friends who far away. My best friend lives in Arizona and is getting married next year. I am going to be her maid of honor, and am helping her plan the wedding. Sites like Facebook and Pinterest have made it possible to for us to instantly share our ideas. Without social media, it would be a lot harder and more time consuming to plan a wedding long distance.

            However, there are some drawbacks to social media. First, social media takes out the “personal” part of communication. Since everything is online, you do not get the same experience as you would having a face-to-face conversation. You also may misinterpret things during while communicating with someone on social media. You cannot interpret someone’s body language, or tone of voice while using social media, and sometimes those are the most important things involved in communication. Many people “over-share” things on social media. Nearly half of employers look up potential employees on Facebook before hiring them (Huffington Post, 2013). Thus, users must be careful what they post on social media—because many important people could be watching.

Social media provides another platform for bullying. Since social media is so open, and nearly anyone can create a Facebook or Twitter profile, those who choose to cyber bully can hide under a fake name, and continuously bully with sometimes very little consequences. This can be extremely toxic, especially to young teenagers. I remember when I was a teenager that image was everything, and I cared tremendously about the opinions of my peers. Being a teenager is an emotional, awkward, and very difficult time enough without bullying. Last month, a twelve year old committed suicide because she was constantly attacked on Facebook by her classmates for over a year. Even after her death, they posted horrible things on her Facebook wall suggesting they were glad she was dead and that they did not care about their involvement in the bullying that lead to her suicide.

            Social media has grown so much over the past ten years. Now more than ever, people are using it to connect to one another, find jobs, share news, and so much more. Social media allows users to network themselves, and highlight their best qualities to get their dream job. It also allows provides instant feedback. However, social media takes out many personal aspects of communication, and replaces it with technological aspects. Many people also post inappropriate information on their social media pages. Finally, social media also provide a platform for bullying, causing harm to users, especially teenagers. 



Number of Active Facebook Users over the years. (2013). In Yahoo News . Retrieved October 29,   2013, from–finance.html                   

The Growth of Social Media. (2011). In Huffington Post: Technology. Retrieved October 29,        2013, from    infographic_n_945256.html

Staglin, D., & Welch, W. (2013). Two Young girls arrested on bullying charges after suicide.    USA TODAY. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from suicide/2986079/

Prontalinski, E. (2013, October). Twitter sees 218m monthly active users, 163.5m monthly mobile users, 100m daily users, and 500m tweets per day. In TNW News . Retrieved October 29, 2013, from




Improving technology at ArtPrize

It is hard to believe that there is only one week left of ArtPrize! Time sure flies when you are having fun. Have you checked it out yet? Yesterday, the top ten winners were announced. All the winners and locations of the their entries can be found here.

Last week, I talked about how technology launched ArtPrize. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can check it out here. This week, I am going to continue on with the technology theme, expect now I am going to talk about how technology could be improved at ArtPrize.

I had the opportunity to visit ArtPrize twice within the past two weeks. The first day I went was opening day, September 18. It was pretty crowded, and one of the first things that I had noticed was how slow my phone was running. I have Sprint, which mainly runs on 3G, and there were several times when my phone was running so slow that I could not upload anything on FourSquare or Facebook. I figured that the networks might have been over worked  due to a large amount of people using them. However, last night I went to ArtPrize, and again I had trouble connecting to FourSquare and Facebook. This time, FourSquare timed out several times, and I got an error message saying “could not connect to network”. This kept happening several times throughout the night, and it was pretty frustrating. 

At first, I thought that it might have just Sprint that was having problems. However, during the first weekend of ArtPrize, many Verizon users reported network problems.  According to Brezening, “Verizon tells WZZM 13 that data traffic from downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday overwhelmed their systems.  They are making additions this week, so that problem should be resolved” (Brezening, 2013).

In order to fix this problem, I believe that it would be beneficial for ArtPrize to add more WiFi hotspots.  WiFi hotspots would allow people to connect to the internet for free, and would give them more opportunities to share their experiences at ArtPrize verses just relying on their cellular network alone. This year, ArtPrize teamed up with Iserv again to provide WiFi hotspots.  Last year, over 100.000 people used these free WiFi services (Wood. 2013). According to Johnson-Wood, ” In 2013, free Wi-Fi zones include Rosa Parks Circle, inside the Grand Rapids Art Museum, inside the ArtPrize Hub on Sheldon Avenue, inside the ArtPrize Clubhouse at J. Gardella’s, in the park between the Blue Bridge and the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and on the Blue Bridge” (Wood, 2013).However, it is important to note that there is not a WiFi hotspot in one of the largest sections of ArtPrize: the Bob. The B.OB. has over fifty art entries  this year, yet there is no WiFi hotspot in the area. It is clearly a high traffic area, because  several of the top twenty five picks are at the B.OB., and also one of the top ten picks, Tired Pandas is located within the vicinity. While I was at Artprize again last night, I barely had two bars of service, and there were no WiFi hotspots that I could connect to without a code. My phone was also took several minutes to receive and send text messages, so I just found it easier to go home and vote with my own WiFi.  Thus, it would be very beneficial to have a WiFi hotspot to the B.O.B for next year’s ArtPrize.

I also believe that ArtPrize should encourage artists to set up a Facebook or Twitter. Last year, the hast tag ArtPrize was mentioned 28.000 times on Twitter (Kaczmarycyzk, 2013). The ArtPrize Facebook page has over 70.000 likes and 18.000 Twitter followers (Kaczmarycyzk, 2013).  Social media is a great way to connect with the voters and the community. It would also allow constant communication between both parties, and could lead to other opportunities such as selling other art pieces, or even getting profiled in a media program.  Several of the pieces that I saw did not have any contact information available for the artist.

Go ahead and check out the last week of ArtPrize! It goes on until October 6!

References :

Brezening, B. (2013, September 23). Verizon resolves to fix ArtPrize voting issues. In WZZM13 . Retrieved September 30, 2013, from

Johnson-Wood, D. (2013, September 26). Iserv covers ArtPrize hotspots with free Wi-Fi, seeks sales and tech folks to fill jobs. In Rapid Growth. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from

Kaczmarcyzk, J. (2013, September 24). ArtPrize 2012’s Top 25 favorites in the popular vote are in only a handful of venues. In MLive. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from

Kaczmarcyzk, J. (2013). ArtPrize 2013: Exploring event’s effects on Grand Rapids in numbers. In MLive. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from

The B.OB. . (n.d.). In ArtPrize . Retrieved September 30, 2013, from