Social Media Experiment

One of my friends and mentors and I are planning on writing a book this summer about young adults. He is the head guy of the organization and I am more interested in writing and helping out people my own age discover themselves and the world around them.

This morning I tried to start a trending topic on Twitter with the hashtag of #mikefriesenscandal. With everything that is going on with Congressman Wiener and the pictures of his junk that he spread via Twitter, I wanted to see how much energy and resources it would take to get there. As well, what are people looking for with their use of social media.

The more time I spend on Social Media I am learning more and more that some people are looking at social media for several routes. Some people are looking for community. In such a fast pace society, social engines like facebook and twitter are great ways to connect quickly with people who we might not normally get to engage with. It’s also a way to engage with others who we might not normally meet. For others, it is a great way to connect with resources that might not be available to us. It’s a quick news feed. We can find job resources. We can connect with businesses. We can see into what celebrity’s do with their day-to-day lives. For others, it is an entrepreneurial investment where they can gain a clientele, a following or some form of audience.

Social Media is a powerful outlet.

For the 30 people who unfollowed me today on Twitter, if you read this, I’m sorry that my filled up your feed. If you are offended, I will personally apologize.

For the hundreds and potentially thousands of responses I got today, I want to thank you for revealing to me the power of social media.

More important than any of this, I am interested in why you use social media. Why is it important to you? How does it shape your life? What does social media have to offer to society?


11 thoughts on “Social Media Experiment

  1. Matt says:

    haha. Your experiment certainly took off. I was wondering if people would get upset.

    I mainly use social media as a way to find good resources and connect to a few good people (not popular people, good people). Right now, I’m using it somewhat to raise money for charity:water. I’m definitely learning some things that do and don’t work.

  2. I loved what you did! I enjoyed reading everything you RT’d and even replied from the book that I am running the social media campaign for @Knockover711 even if you lost followers, you gained a fan with me.
    -Cortland Coffey

  3. Emily says:

    First – I thought all of your “scandals” were HILARIOUS!

    I use social media because it helps me to connect to people. I get my energy from talking to people, getting to know them, and building those relationships. I love using social media as a tool to connect to people I may not have otherwise, and to keep in touch with people that I already have connected to. My close friends and I who live far apart use things like Facebook & Twitter to keep in touch and have conversations when we can’t see each other face to face. Through Twitter, people who were acquaintances in college, I now consider friends. Through Twitter, blogs, and the organization Love Drop I’ve been able to create an amazing online community who I can talk to, joke around with, and get encouragement from. Through social media, a group of us (Love Drop, Love Bomb, and It Starts With Us) are working together to make a difference in the lives of others.

    Then job-wise, I’m a youth minister and Facebook helps me to connect with the teenagers I know. I can’t tell you how many Facebook chat conversations I’ve had, or been able to send everyone in the youth group a message right away through Facebook. We plan and organize events through the internet.

    I also feel as though I know more about what is going on in the world because of social media. I’m not one to watch the news or read newspapers. But because of Twitter and Facebook and the links my friends post I’ve found that I’m more willing to research current events and find out what is happening in the world around me.

  4. annieology says:

    I’m totally stealing this someday, after the worlds very shirt memory forgets about it.

  5. I love this. For me, social media is a mix of everything you mentioned. It’s a source for community/connection with pre-existing friends, hub to engage and meet new ones, an endless of pool of creative ideas, source for recommended reading and great blogs to follow. The list could go on.

    The thing that I appreciate the most (I think) is the authentic nature of social media. It’s as if we’re able to really be ourselves because we’re “hidden” behind a screen. No one really sees us face to face. It allows us to speak our minds and voice our opinions without the fear of direct ‘in your face’ ridicule. This may be either positive or negative depending on how people use it but it is powerful none the less.

    Social media gives everyone a voice that can potentially be heard by millions of people.

    The one danger as our world becomes more and more connected in online engagement is losing the need (or want) for personal, in the flesh, engagement and community. It’s not one or the other but rather both and. Our lives are more rich because of social media and I agree that it is a powerful tool.

  6. Phil Wood says:

    I’m 50 this year. Perhaps I’m showing my age in seeing social networking as a mixed blessing. As I said recently, i sometimes find facebook and twitter distracting and self-important. I’ve just joined Foursquare and it will be interesting to see if it catches on. I do see the positive side though, and wonder what it might be possible to achieve via social networking. Blogging, which is what I do, I find an endlessly fascinating vocation. I am hugely appreciative of the connections I’ve made over three years of ‘radref’.

    I certainly do think that there is a danger of supplanting face to face community. Here in the UK we’re already on the wrong end of trends destroying local communities. In my view facebook works best in extending face to face networks. Shalom, phil

  7. Jen Stever says:

    I am not a 20 something (almost 40) and I have a Twitter, Tumblr, and FB. I enjoy (most of the time) having my finger on the pulse of what’s being discussed among a wide range of age groups, and on a variety of topics. It helps me stay “in shape” mentally and keeps me from being an old woman before my time. I think through blogging and tweeting etc., I have attained more relevance : I only work part-time but my husband is knee deep in media in his career and I like to be able to talk/debate about social and political issues with him and others. At any given cocktail party, I will invariably be asked what I “do”. I think next time I may answer that I am a newly registered Democrat, Christ follower, and activist for social change. Many of these changes in myself can be attributed to the heroes, mentors, friends and “frienemies” that I have friended, followed, retweeted and blocked in my own social “experiment”.

  8. I use social media for a few reasons… to connect with others, learn from others, help others, promote my stuff (blog, etc) and because it is fun!

    But at the same time, it’s a facade… I speak up much more on twitter or facebook than I would in person. Of course, in person I’m listening to a few people instead of hundreds, so maybe it balances out.


  9. britneywitt says:

    When I first pulled up my Twitter and saw that your scandals were flooding my feed, my thoughts included….this guy has an agenda. Well, I was right you did have an agenda, but one that is way more intriguing than the one I assumed (shame on me for assuming right?). And, then I read through them and lost myself in the laughter I couldn’t hold back (mind you, I was laughing hysterically at work). So, for that I am grateful. Laughter is therapeutic, and I certainly needed it.

    As for social media, the connection I have to a community that supersedes the boundaries of physical location encourages a more holistic lifestyle that is not limited by the culture and society I was born into. So much of my life was spent in the constraints of a world limited to my surroundings. My perceptions were formed by the church I attended, my family’s values, and the educational institutes I attended. As social media explodes, I accept it as a challenge to explore thoughts and philosophies of my cyber-neighbors, educate myself on the things not taught in grade school and college, connect with a community of diverse cultures, beliefs, and values, and most importantly remind myself of how small I am in the scheme of God’s epic novel.

  10. Aaron says:

    It’s a double edged sword right? We can connect with people all over the world – cool. Great for building an online business that seeks to help millions rather than hundreds. Of course the bad side is that we can connect with people all over the world – people that we will neither affect nor be affected by in any real life changing, life giving way. Is it all just distraction? What about the neighbor next door that we never talk to? The prayers left unsaid? And in knowing about everything, do we stop being moved by anything. Oh look another earthquake, another war, another child prostitute – too bad.
    How does me responding to your blog post – you who I don’t know nor will probably never meet even though, from the attention I just gave to your blog rather than playing with my son, I think you are very cool and would be someone I’d love to sit down over a cup of coffee over in Dinky Town – how does it positively affect your life or mine or bring the kingdom?
    Just thinking out loud here and playing a bit of the devil’s advocate (or Jesus’ advocate). My real feelings are that it is complicated and social media should be entered into with much more care and intentional thought knowing full well that it WILL steal hours of your life.

    Great post. Great experiment and great blog. Next time I’m in MN I’ll buy the coffee.


    • Mike Friesen says:

      those are great thoughts aaron. Those are the dangers of social media. Face-to-face connection and intimacy is life changing. Phyiscal human connection is life changing. Not that social media can’t introduce life-changing people to us, but, it does not offer touch, tone, for you to exhibit the same energy or emotion that a face-to-face one has.

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