The Bright Side of Social Media: Guest Post by Anusha Shrivastava, Ph.D.

The Bright Side of Social Media: Guest Post by Anusha Shrivastava, Ph.D.

The Bright Side of Social Media

Guest Post by Anusha Shrivastava, Ph.D.

Blog101_SocialMedia_PeopleOnPhones-300x200 The Bright Side of Social Media: Guest Post by Anusha Shrivastava, Ph.D.This week, Konverser Anusha Shrivastava offers us a perspective on the bright side of social media, particularly Facebook, as but one of many tools for staying connected.

 

It’s easy to spout venom against social media in general and Facebook in particular. On top of never-ending concerns about data breaches, oversharing, and FOMO (fear of missing out), there’s the alleged waste of time. I would argue, it’s not Facebook you need to blame, but rather you and how you use the forum. My friends and I use it largely to stay in touch. It’s quick, effective, and free. In many cases, it has replaced email and phone calls. It’s a way to share quick updates in as public a manner as possible and without inserting yourself into someone’s inbox. There’s no burden to respond either.   

Blog101_SocialMedia_GirlsAndPhone-300x200 The Bright Side of Social Media: Guest Post by Anusha Shrivastava, Ph.D.Most important: it’s a way to start a conversation. Isn’t that how friendships are built and sustained?

By sharing articles, travel pictures, cartoons and comments on each other’s posts, we are staying in touch minus any heavy lift. The advantage is that when we meet face-to-face, we have some sense of what the other person has been doing or reading even though we have not been emailing or talking regularly.

Blog101_SocialMedia_SmilingGirls-300x200 The Bright Side of Social Media: Guest Post by Anusha Shrivastava, Ph.D.Backing up a little, I’d like point out that “friend” is a very loosely used term on Facebook. I have more than 1,200 Facebook friends, and you would be right in rolling your eyes and saying they cannot possibly all be “real” friends. They aren’t. Some are members of the extended family, others are people I met at some dinner event and figured we had a common interest, while still others are former colleagues and students. They are not all bosom pals, and they might never be, but I figure we may meet at some point or I may want to connect with them for the non-profit work I do. They help me connect with others in their field.

Blog101_SocialMedia_GirlsComputer-300x225 The Bright Side of Social Media: Guest Post by Anusha Shrivastava, Ph.D.If nothing else, what they share may be substantially different from what my closest friends would, so I then have access to viewpoints I’d never otherwise be exposed to. 

They, in turn, reach out to me when they have questions about journalism or my current role as an administrator at a university. Many former students share their work with me and update me about the awards they win. I share their news and help “advertise” their achievements. If they need help in meeting someone or want travel tips, I am happy to make an introduction.  

I’m also connected with classmates from my elementary, middle, and high school. They may not have been close friends, but some are now neighbors! Others are working in areas I want to know more about. Still others share pictures from days gone by that I would not see unless I was interacting with them on Facebook.

Blog101_SocialMedia_BoysTalkingOutside-300x200 The Bright Side of Social Media: Guest Post by Anusha Shrivastava, Ph.D.Some of these connections get restricted to LinkedIn, but others can definitely be included in a more “social” setting. After all, don’t we make friends while riding a train? How different is the interaction on Facebook? We share a little bit of ourselves, and our companions offer some insight into their lives. 

I also understand that given that the interaction is very public, no one’s innermost thoughts are shared. For that, you’d have to meet in person. You’d have to actually make time to visit and sit with a friend or family member. This may take substantial time, money, and effort. Such in-person  interactions are often not feasible, what with our lifestyle. So, if it’s a choice between meeting once in five years or interacting on FB once every few weeks or even months, I’d pick the latter. 

Blog101_SocialMedia_Coffee-300x200 The Bright Side of Social Media: Guest Post by Anusha Shrivastava, Ph.D.At least this way I’ll know who got married, who had a baby, and who lost a parent, spouse or pet. I’ll share in your happiness when your child zooms off to college and be there to hit “love” when she makes the Dean’s list! If you share what you are reading, I’ll have a fair idea of the book I should get for your birthday. 

If you tell me you are visiting my city, I’ll even invite you for a coffee and you’ll have FB to thank for it!

 

Anusha-300x300 The Bright Side of Social Media: Guest Post by Anusha Shrivastava, Ph.D.If you’d like to talk more with Anusha about her perspectives on social media, her work, or anything else, you can book a session with her on Konversai. Konversai is changing the way we use social media by putting the human connection back into technology and providing a space for meaningful and authentic connections that can make people’s lives better. Your one-stop shop for any and all personal human knowledge, Konversai connects knowledge providers with knowledge seekers on any topic of interest through one-on-one live video conversations. Any and all knowledge, skills, and experiences—be it cooking, art, dance, travel, relocation, yoga, calculus, French, gardening, or career counseling—has value on Konversai. The only limit is your imagination. You don’t have to be an expert. Whatever you know is more than enough and may be exactly what someone else is looking to learn. All users are encouraged to be both knowledge providers and knowledge seekers on any and as many topics as they wish, and knowledge providers are encouraged to charge for their time. No longer do you have to depend on your existing social networks or impersonal guidebooks to obtain the knowledge you seek. Konversai’s model proves that there is power in conversation to change your world. Get in on the fun by joining Konversai today.

 

Anusha Shrivastava is the Director of Career Development and Alumni Relations at the Department of Statistics at Columbia University. A business reporter for over two decades across three countries, she got her second masters degree from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2002.

 

Edited by Pavita Singh

 

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