Social Media Has No Borders

This is a guest post from Grace Boyle, a 20-something adventurista. She lives in Boulder, CO and does Business Development for the tech startup, Lijit. She blogs at Small Hands, Big Ideas where she writes about the startup world, career and daily inspirations.

This last weekend I took a trip back East, to Burlington, Vermont. It’s the last place I called home and where I attended college.

Before the epic reunion with my girlfriends began, I had to stop by my beautiful campus of Champlain College. My marketing professor, Elaine Young, who taught me about Twitter, internet marketing and blogging in college asked me to speak in her Marketing 250 class. Of course I obliged.

Elaine began her class; it was informal, real and honest. Elaine began to talk about #u30pro. I giggle to myself, as I just spoke with David Spinks on Twitter and in my inbox I have the #u30pro newsletter, where my recent blog post was featured. The students enthusiastically talked about joining in on the conversation (tweeting is part of their homework, Elaine is so smart) and what they learned.

Furthermore, as I tweeted I was in the classroom presenting on blogging and transparency a Twitter and blogging friend (who also happened to live in Burlington, Vermont) sent me a DM for an impromptu coffee date.

I immediately told David the students in this very class were talking about him and #u30pro. Right away, I thought to myself, it’s a small (social media) world. Here I am, Friday morning in Burlington, Vermont with a small group of students passionately talking about blogging and social media. We talk about the same blogs, the same people and many of the same ideas. Only difference is the filter to our lens and place in life.


Photo Credit: WeHeartIt

It’s Like the Social Media (Verizon) Network

We get caught in our world – tweeting and blogging from your favorite coffee shop or the same desk each day. We forget, we’re enabling a worldwide network and everyone you’re talking to really is real! More than likely, your paths will cross and you will meet.

It’s interesting, because my gratification aha comes at a time when other blogging friends have been talking about blog crushes and the blogger is real. It’s like the Verizon Network always behind you, available if you need them. This is your own Social Media Network, tiptoeing behind you, smiling, holding their smart phones and laptops.

Making It Real

Starting this year, I have had the privilege of meeting up with blogging and Twitter friends in real life (IRL). It’s exhilarating because some are just as you imagined, some surprise you. It keeps you on your toes and gives way to more layers. I even had a blogging friend who moved to Boulder stay at my apartment before she got settled and found her own place. That’s right, social media has me welcoming a “stranger” into my home (yes, I’m being facetious).

It sounds cheesy, but the line, “The world is my family,” really holds true. Think about how special this is. You can interact with these people every day. Share stories, ideas and thoughts, regardless of their geographical location. You can talk through e-mail, skype, chat, groups or Twitter. This means, you are never really alone. This means you can travel virtually anywhere in the world and find a connection. This shouldn’t feel claustrophobic; this should feel enlightening as it broadens our senses and connecting capabilities.

These tools (we use every day) are bridging the gap to great connections. Borders don’t exist and barriers dissipate. I owe many friendships and my current job to social media. There’s something to be said about a connection and whether it’s 140 characters worth or a 500-word blog post that makes you smile, it’s worth it.

I will end with this quote by Charles Eames. It speaks measures on how powerful a connection really can be: “Eventually, everything connects-people, ideas, and objects. The quality of these connections is the key to a well-lived life.”

8 thoughts on “Social Media Has No Borders

  1. Awesome post. I love your take on the connectedness of the social media realm.

    Social media is real. It might change in forms, but it isn’t going away. People love connecting, and social media gives them a way to do that with whomever they please. It’s that simple.

  2. Colby, you’re right. It is really simple. I wanted to break it down because sometimes we get so caught up we forget the connectedness and the simple path we can go down to create those connections. Thanks for sharing!

  3. It’s so interesting, because I wrote a post recently about how we really aren’t all exactly Who we are on our blogs, which I think some of you saw…what’s interesting is what an incredible discussion that’s ensued as a result. Jenny’s post was a wonderful response to that, and this is an extension of that conversation.

    Our world’s are incredibly large now. Even for those people only on Facebook, they have the ability to connect offline with a lot more friends than even I did at a point in my adolescent life.

    We’re at at point in social media in which nodes are taking shape, and certain conversations are gaining wider reach…the Gen Y space is a good example. What comes with that ‘familiarity’ is a cohesive conversation, and in my estimation, progress. The other by product is real relationships; friends, offline interactions, real support and feedback.

    It is a very exciting time to be active online.

    1. I think on top of it all, we’re becoming more comfortable with connecting with “strangers” online. When twitter first came out, I was really uncomfortable with the concept of writing things that ANYONE can see. I liked the security of facebook, and when someone I didn’t know on facebook added me, it was creepy.

      Now, we’re much more open to connecting with new and different people around the world. It’s pretty fascinating.

      1. Yeah, I always find my (and other’s) relationship with online privacy interesting. I made a conscious decision to pull back the veil, step by step. I did that almost because I wanted other people to feel safe doing it; the offline crowd to feel comfortable with Facebook, for instance. I wanted my friends to see that I could write about my love life and college experiences as Derek Shanahan…half to prove the point and half just to demonstrate the power of the medium.

        It was scary. A total experiment. One I obviously don’t regret at all.

  4. @DShan You bring up a valid point. I’m sure many people in real life, aren’t who they portray themselves to be online. The point of this post was from personal experience in continually meeting my online friends in real life and realizing how not fake they are online.

    I also think we can sniff out the ones who perpetually fake it. There’s a mix of personal and professional online and through using judging of character and deductive reasoning, it makes it easier to see through.

    @David I was also nervous about adding my ‘online friends’ on Facebook. Now, I don’t mind at all. Twitter took a while to also become comfortable with. I always encourage people to find their happy-medium with social media. It varies for each person…

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