Monday, July 4, 2011

A Question Raised by Crowdtap.com

I am a member of Crowdtap, and a question was raised to members of the community: "Which experience that you’ve had on Crowdtap has been the most significant to you and why?"

While I couldn't immediately come up with an answer, I realized the site has helped me in one major way: it got me thinking about social media. Not thinking about social media like, "Oh, I saw an interesting post on Facebook today," but really thinking about social media and society.

Crowdtap had some quick hits (easy questions) about social media, as well as more in depth discussions, like asking what social media sites we use and why, and discussing whether social media has impacted relationships with nearby friends in a positive or negative way.

Generic125x125I'd already had some thoughts on this topic, and was happy to share my opinion, which is primarily that social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace do more harm than good, but still have positive qualities. (Then again, I'm an advocate of blogging instead of social media, so I'm biased.) Even though my thoughts about social media are less than positive, the introduction of the topic gave me so much to think - and write - about. For example, since I've joined Crowdtap and started thinking about social media, I wrote articles about the appropriate age to start using social media and why it's healthy to take a break from Facebook.

Because Crowdtap made me think about social media, I started thinking about how social media affects my life and the lives of others. I thought about the good, but also the harm it causes. Primarily, it allows people to interact in a way that they wouldn't in person. For example, a girl who likes a guy can let him know that she likes him when she's too shy to do it in person (which is good), but people can also be given courage to insult others publicly (which is not good). Take the case of Phoebe Prince, for example. Even after she died, horrible comments were still left on her Facebook page.

So, to answer the question: the most significant experience I had on Crowdtap has been to take a discussion introduced by the website, write about it on Crowdtap and take the thoughts I had during the discussion and share them using other venues. Crowdtap has encouraged me to do research and learn more about social media and society, all because the site introduced some quick hits and discussions on the topic. I've also given myself some good advice while learning about social media on Crowdtap: I should stop reading Facebook and spend my time doing things that are constructive, like sharing my thoughts on Crowdtap!

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