I first became interested in social networking when I was about 12 years old and I heard of a website called Xanga, which was a site where people could blog about their daily lives and other people could comment on it. One of my friends told me about it, and just to see what it was like I signed myself up. After a few days I was positively hooked about writing about my life when I was 12. I believe this is where I started my passion for writing, and I'll try to as modest as I can here when I say I was nothing short of a genius. Here's a sample entry taken directly from my old Xanga:
"I <33 Everybody in the world.
You should too.
Forgive everybody that you can.
As you can tell, I was quite the angsty lyricist. I don't even remember knowing a Drew. Anywho, after discovering Xanga and using that for a couple of years, most of my friends moved on to MySpace. While MySpace wasn't as extensive as Xanga was, it was still a good way to be connected to friends. I missed being able to actually write blog entries, though. Then Facebook came along and it was somewhat of a happy medium.
I was the type of person to only update one social networking platform at a time. I would sometimes visit whatever social network I had previously used just to look at old entries, but I hardly ever posted any updates because the visitors were long gone at that point. It was like a virtual ghost town. Since getting a smartphone, however, it's been a lot easier to update more than one social network at a time. This makes it easier for me to keep in touch with more friends.
When Twitter came along after Facebook, I kept hearing it was the "Facebook killer", and while it did gain quite a following I still seem to have more friends on Facebook than on Twitter. But I have friends on both. I think in a world without smartphones, Twitter might have taken over, but since it's so easy to update more than one with our phones both sites have equal opportunity to have active members. It's convenient when you can update one and two clicks later update the other. Same goes for other social networking sites that I frequent, such as Reddit, Wordpress, and Google+. A few years ago I wouldn't have had the time or patience to maintain more than two social networking sites, and now I have five.
Not only is it easier to post updates on-the-go, but it's also made it easier to post photos and videos. When I want to post a photo somewhere all I have to do is whip out my phone, take a quick shot, and send. No more digging around my purse for my camera (unless I know it's a special occasion, in which case I will always have my camera with me) and taking 3-5 minutes just to set it up to take pictures, then going home, plugging the card in the computer, importing, and then uploading to Facebook.
Even my mother, who swore she would never get involved in social networking, is now an avid Facebook and YouTube user thanks to her phone. It seems like every time I see her she's got her face in her phone for one reason or another.
Have you noticed that you've become more involved in social networking since getting a smartphone? Let me know what you think in the comments!