How Social Media Helped Me Transform From High School Senior to CEO
Social media itself is really an overarching term that umbrellas a variety of forums, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Wordpress, Snapchat, Instagram, and the beloved Myspace, just to name a few. Therefore, social media sites have been impacting my life since I was a mere thirteen years old and finally old enough to sign up—with parent’s permission, of course. But even before I began utilizing social networking sites to communicate with my peers, as family was absolutely forbidden from requesting to be my friend at the time, I was utilizing the Internet to communicate with others on a website called Marapets.
As a quick description, Marapets is a website where each player creates virtual pets and then can interact with other players utilizing “Forums,” which are public spaces to discuss a variety of topics, such as trading pets, selling items, and even gushing over the cutest members of the most popular boy bands. Hence, I would consider this website my first taste of social networking with other people, as opposed to my first social media profile on Myspace. And though I was an immature ten year old child when I began playing on Marapets, the experience of interacting with others on a Forum was extremely beneficial for my future, as I learned how to conduct conversations through a keyboard and understood the importance of writing out your thoughts in a grammatically correct manner at a younger age than most.
Fast-forward eight years. I am now utilizing social media as a means of communicating with professionals who are passionate about integrating social media usage into the classroom. Through my years of playing on this virtual site, I am capable of efficiently conversing with individuals almost twice my age in a respectable manner—and not to mention I can type on average 76 words per minute. While conversing with my own teachers throughout my mission, which began my senior year of high school, they were pleasantly surprised about how I conduct myself not only in person, but also behind a computer screen. One teacher in particular confided in me how some of her students do not type full sentences when replying to emails or properly format the email specific to the situation. That was a surprising revelation to me, given that we (students in the 21st century) sometimes communicate with teachers through email more than in person in a one-on-one conversation. One would think that students would value their professional interactions enough to at least use correct grammar—especially when addressing an English teacher.
How, though, did social media transform me from a high school senior to CEO? Though I had previous experience conversing with others through the Internet, my social media education mission is what truly propelled me forward. Throughout my senior year I researched why social media should be incorporated into the curriculum and how it could be utilized in the classroom; therefore, it became necessity to conduct interviews with educators all over the country and approach them through social media sites (like Twitter and LinkedIn). I also had to gain credibility when speaking to these professionals, as I do not possess a college degree in education and was on a mission to “educate the educators” on the benefits of social media in the classroom. This is hard to accomplish if one does not project a professional composure.
Thankfully, my colleagues were and still are very receptive to my thoughts and ideas; thus, I created my business Education Media Tools Inc. in order to sell my DVD “Social Networks, Educator Empowerment, and Student Success.” This DVD was the tangible goal at the end of my senior year that is composed of the research I conducted throughout the year. It discusses why students abuse social media and how to eradicate this problem, why social media should be used in the classroom, and how it can be integrated into the curriculum. Without my interactions on social media sites (primarily Twitter and Wordpress), I would not have created such a great resource for educators or start my own business at the ripe age of eighteen.
Due to my social media education mission, I am a little biased as to the importance and power of social media. Really, though, my opinions are based in fact. The facts are as follows: without social media, I would not possess the skills or credibility to effectively interact with professionals; without social media, I would not have the mentors and colleagues that I do now that have helped my mission and DVD become so important and informational; and, without the power of social media and its advertisement values, I would not be a businesswoman at such a young age.
Everyone can have their own opinion on how to utilize social media—either for personal or professional use—and what the true benefits such sites have, but none can dispute the facts. As for me, I’ve decided to accept what’s real and appreciate the fact that social media has transformed my life.