Ian Philpot

In 2013, I resolve to use social media more.

While a lot of people are resolving to use social media less this year, I’m asking for more.

Let me explain myself.

I would guess that I’ve read about 10-15 articles about tech and current events nearly every day for the last two years. Those articles keep me well-informed about global and domestic issues and new technologies that are quickly changing the landscape of our world. They aid me in my job and keep me thoughtful in my writing.

Where do I find most of these articles? Through social media.

So, if social media aids in my cultural awareness and personal growth, why wouldn’t I want more?

Now, I’ve read a lot of articles about productivity where the author tells readers to get away from Facebook and Twitter if they’re looking to accomplish anything. In most cases, I disagree.

I have a friend who is a photographer. She’s talented and looking for ways to promote herself better online. She needs to be leveraging Facebook every day. Sure, she may have some important photos that need to be edited right away, but if she jumps onto Facebook to see what her friends got for Christmas, she’s actually making things better for herself. The friend whose pictures she just liked is someone who knows her, someone who is likely refer one of their friends to her when they get engaged/married/pregnant. Even time “wasted” in social media can be beneficial to her business.

I have another friend who is finishing grad school for architecture. It may not make as much sense for him to be on Facebook, but who’s to fault him if he spends a half hour here and there on Pinterest? Every once in a while I see him pinning, and it’s sometimes related to his thesis. So what if he pins a recipe or two that he hopes his wife will make? Just after those pins, he finds something interesting that he may want to incorporate in his next project. Social media is helping him get his masters.

I’m not saying that everyone should be on Facebook more. I don’t think that continually reading the thoughts and opinions of those you get along with the most makes you relavent in today’s world.

I’m not saying that everyone should be on Twitter more. I think we need to start thinking in more than 140 characters.

I’m not saying that everyone should be on Instagram more. Your friends don’t want to see another Starbucks cups with the X Pro II filter.

I’m not saying that everyone should be reading blogs more. Sometimes we need news from people who are paid to write it because they have legitimate sources and they keep our country’s grammar standards at a respectable leve.

I AM saying that there has never been a better place of opportunity to make ourselves better than what social media presents us with today. 

You no longer need a library card, a newspaper subscription, or to be sitting in front of your TV for the thirty minutes they tell the most depressing news stories possible in order to stay current.

When my grandfather was my age, he started every morning with the local newspaper. I start every morning looking through my Twitter feed and reading reddit’s front page. Sure, I see more adorable cats in my news than he ever did, but that doesn’t make me a bad person. (Actually, it may make me a more productive person.)

So that’s why I’m going to use social media more this year. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but it may be worth considering.